Federal Judge to Rule on Marijuana’s Schedule I Classification

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The cannabis industry could gain more legal credibility when a judge in California rules next month on whether marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I narcotic is constitutional.

The case involves a federal prosecution of several marijuana growers in California, who have argued that the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug violates the U.S. Constitution, and that the federal government has been enforcing its laws unfairly between states.

District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller held a five-day hearing last year on the matter, and final arguments in the case are scheduled for February, according to The Los Angeles Times.

If Mueller ultimately rules against the federal government, it’s unclear exactly what the legal fallout would be. The Times reported that the ruling would only apply to the defendants named in the case, but if the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the ruling after an expected appeal, then “all the Western states would be affected,” according to The Associated Press.

It’s unlikely that Mueller’s ruling would fully legalize marijuana nationwide. But her decision could prove a key steppingstone for future court cases, legislation from Congress, or a rescheduling of marijuana by the Drug Enforcement Administration.