The months-long litigation over marijuana's Scheduled 1 drug designation in Nevada is finally over. Weeks after a Clark County District Court judge weighed in on a closely-followed lawsuit filed against the Nevada Board of Pharmacy determining that the listing of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug is against the state's constitution, the final ruling was issued on Wednesday, reported The Nevada Independent.
With the new decision, which follows an interesting precedent at the state court level that sought to remove cannabis's schedule 1 designation, Judge Joe Hardy stripped the Board of Pharmacy of the ability to regulate cannabis.
The judge said that the board "acted outside of its authority when it failed to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I substances" even though voters amended the state constitution to legalize medical marijuana.
"If the [pharmacy] board designates a substance as a 'controlled substance,' but the designation falls outside the authority delegated by the Legislature, the designation is invalid," the new ruling said.
Nevada legalized medical marijuana use in 2000 followed by another ballot in 2017 that legalization of recreational cannabis sale and use.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada won a clear victory in September after filing the lawsuit in April 2022. Judge Hardy sided with the ACLU's argument that marijuana has an accepted medical use.
"The notion that a state agency is able to engage in unlawful actions because it's happening at the federal government – it's just not the way it works," said Athar Haseebullah, executive director of the ACLU on July 15 after the first hearing. "They don't work for the feds. We didn't sue the DEA here. We sued the State Board of Pharmacy because this is a state action."
The plaintiffs—Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community (CEIC) and Antoine Poole through counsel of the ACLU— sought injunctive relief, alleging that despite the passage of the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act and the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana, the state via the Pharmacy Board failed to comport with the will of Nevada voters, the state Constitution and revised statutes.
"The ruling today that cannabis cannot be scheduled as a Schedule 1 substance by Nevada's Board of Pharmacy without violating the Nevada Constitution reaffirms what the people of this state have known for decades, that marijuana has medicinal value and can be safely distributed to the public," said Chris Peterson, Legal Director for ACLU of Nevada.
Photo: Courtesy of PatternPictures, lindsayfox by Pixabay
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