Advocates hoping to change marijuana’s highly restrictive federal status had pegged their hopes on a New York lawsuit challenging its designation as a drug with “no accepted medical use.” Those hopes were at least temporarily dashed by a ruling in the Southern District Court of New York Monday.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein threw out the case that argued marijuana’s designation as a Schedule I drug was unconstitutional. He heard oral arguments on whether to dismiss the case, Washington et al. v. Sessions et al., earlier this month.
Despite the fact that the Drug Enforcement Administration has denied petitions to change marijuana’s federal status as recently as 2016, the judge said the plaintiffs should have exhausted that administrative process before turning to the courts.
“Although the plaintiffs couch their claim in constitutional language, they seek the same relief as would be available