Is the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Unconstitutional?
Hiller, PC and their plaintiffs say it most certainly is...
As you may know, a law firm based in New York, Hiller, PC, has filed a federal lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act as it pertains to Cannabis. In a 90-page Complaint, attorneys representing five plaintiffs maintain that the CSA, in classifying Cannabis as a “Schedule I drug,” is so irrational that it violates the U.S. Constitution. Among the other claims in the lawsuit are that the CSA: was enacted and implemented in order to discriminate against African Americans and to suppress people’s First Amendment rights; and that it violates their plaintiffs’ constitutional Right to Travel.
Jeff Sessions is one of the defendants in the case. In light of Sessions’ recent announcement about rescinding the Colo Memo and cracking down on states rights in regards to cannabis policy, counsel for the federal government Samuel Dolinger sent a letter to the judge, informing him about Sessions’ announcement, and calling the announcement a “significant development” in their lawsuit.
Lauren Ruddick is a partner at Hiller PC and said, “By Sessions’ announcement, he essentially proclaimed to the American public that, by the Controlled Substances Act, Congress views cannabis to be a dangerous drug. However, as pointed out in our lawsuit, there is significant evidence (aside from the Cole Memo) confirming that Congress does not actually believe that cannabis is dangerous. For instance, Congress’ most recent statements on the matter are found in the various funding riders, which expressly preclude Congress from enforcing the CSA against medical patients and the businesses that supply their medication. Further, if Congress truly deemed cannabis to be unsafe, how could state laws have evolved in a manner such that 65% of all Americans now live in a jurisdiction in which cannabis has been legalized? We needed to bring this to the Court’s attention.”
Hiller, PC responded to the letter (you can see the full version at the bottom of this article), and rather sees the announcement to be an empty, disingenuous response to the arguments they had already raised in opposition to the Government’s Motion to Dismiss (currently pending). In that Motion, Hiller PC argued that the federal government cannot enforce the Controlled Substances Act as it pertains to cannabis, since the statute is essentially “void” for non-use, and Congress has already ceded authority regarding cannabis policy to the States.
The letter states, “We trust that the Court will see right through defendant Session’ improper effort to change the direction of this lawsuit by mean of an Announcement that does not change federal policy, cannot change federal (since Congress has de-funded any effort by defendants to reorient their enforcement priorities), and has been almost universally condemned by the very legislative body Mr. Dolinger claims supports defendants in this lawsuit.”
Rest assured that The Weed Blog will continue to follow this case very closely, and we applaud Hiller, PC and their plaintiffs on their efforts to push cannabis law reform forward at such a critical time for this movement.