A federal judge in California on Wednesday declined to overturn marijuana’s place on the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of controlled substances.
U.S. Judge Kimberly Mueller raised hopes within the cannabis industry last year when she held a five-day hearing on the issue of whether marijuana belongs on the DEA’s Schedule I list, alongside narcotics such as heroin and LSD. But on Wednesday, Mueller announced that the issue is outside her purview and that it’s up to Congress to resolve, according to the Associated Press.
A written version of Mueller’s decision has yet to be issued.
The question of marijuana’s place among controlled substances came up as part of a four-year-old criminal complaint against 16 alleged marijuana growers. While an appeal of Mueller’s decision is possible, the judge said that won’t be permitted until the trial itself is completed. That could take another year, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The question of rescheduling has long been a hot-button issue for activists and businesspeople, with some arguing that moving cannabis to Schedule II or lower (there are five schedules) could have a major impact on the industry. Others argue that it should simply be removed from the list of controlled substances altogether.