A US appeals court will hear evidence that the drug has medical benefits – a claim with which the federal government disagrees
Michael Krawitz, from Elliston, Virginia, suffered a car accident while serving in the US air force which left him permanently disabled and in chronic pain.
Years later he received a prescription for medical marijuana while abroad, which, when used with other pain treatment, stabilised his condition for the first time.
But when the department of veteran affairs found out about his cannabis prescription, they asked him to undergo a drug test, he said, which he refused.
They have now denied him further treatment.
Later this month, Krawitz, 49, and other advocates for medical marijuana will go before the US court of appeal as part of a historic lawsuit that they hope will challenge the federal government’s classification of marijuana.
Under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified alongside heroin as a dangerous drug, with no medical benefits. Advocates argue that marijuana has a medical benefit and so should be reclassified.
A wide range of US organisations support either medical access to cannabis, its reclassification or both. They include two of nation’s largest physician groups, the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians, in addition to the American Nurses Association, the Federation of American Scientists and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Oral arguments in the case are scheduled to be heard at the US court of appeal for the DC circuit on October 16.
It is the result of a long legal battle by the Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a group of physicians, medical professionals and patients advocating legal access to marijuana for medical use and research.
It marks the first time in 20 years the scientific evidence regarding the therapeutic value of marijuana will be reviewed by the courts. Previous efforts have not been successful.
“Medical marijuana patients are finally getting their day in court,” said Joe Elford, chief counsel with ASA. “This is a rare opportunity for patients to confront politically motivated decision-making with scientific evidence of marijuana’s medical efficacy.”
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