Longtime marijuana activist Carl Olsen, recently granted standing to intervene in the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis Petition case against the DEA, has just filed his response in federal court. In his brief, Olsen slammed the DEA by introducing new evidence into the record, arguing that the DEA is unlawfully interfering with state sovereignty.
Olsen stated in today’s brief that he intervened in the cannabis coalition’s petition to “defend federalism and state sovereignty,” and pointed out that the DEA Administrator’s interpretation of the phrase “accepted medical use” is based on an outdated 1994 court ruling, Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics v. DEA, 930 F.2d 936, 939 (D.C. Cir. 1991)Here’s some excerpts from Olsen’s brief today:
“It’s difficult to conceive how DEA arrived at the conclusion that marijuana has no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
Times change and what was within DEA’s reasonable discretion in 1994 is not “reasonable” now in the context of 16 State medical marijuana laws and the District of Columbia explicitly authorizing the medical use of marijuana.”
–-Olsen’s reply in re: Coal. to Reschedule Cannabis Appeal From the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Docket # 11-5121. Click here to see the case’s history.
After Olsen slammed the DEA’s (obviously biased) opinion, he pointed out some newer evidence that was missing from the record when the DEA denied the petition. Pointing out that the American Medical Association recommended removal of marijuana from Schedule I in 2009, Carl argued that the unanimous 2010 ruling from the Iowa Board of Pharmacy should have been taken into account by the DEA when they denied the rescheduling petition.
This is the first time that Iowa Board of Pharmacy’s groundbreaking medical marijuana efforts were introduced into the federal courts. Olsen currently has a case pending against the state of Iowa based on the Board of Pharmacy’s work, and demands in his lawsuit that Iowa update the Code to reflect the Board of Pharmacy’s unanimous declaration that marijuana is indeed medicine. Read the lawsuit against the state of Iowa here.
In this federal petition, Olsen is ultimately requesting that the Court of Appeals remand this case to the DEA:
“[P]articularly where the rights of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of seriously ill USCA
and injured people are at stake, extraordinary care is needed. Any decision should be based on the most current scientific knowledge, not just the record presented to DEA in 2002…
DEA can say it is just doing what the petitioners have requested, but the timing is suspect. The record is inadequate to protect the rights of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of citizens using marijuana lawfully under state laws because developments in science and law have developed rapidly over the past 8 years.”
—Olsen’s Reply Brief, Filed: 07/23/2011
Olsen might have been beaten to the punch by just a few days, as the DEA denied the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis’ Petition; as a result of that denial, this case might end up being dismissed without Olsen’s argument being addressed. While that could be seen as a judicial travesty (somebody call Van Der Plaats!), the fact that the Iowa Board of Pharmacy ruling from 2010 has now been introduced in federal court for the first time today is a big deal.
The court’s response is likely to be highly anticipated from those in the legal profession who work on this issue. Hopefully the Court will side with Olsen and make the DEA review current science. Whether they do that, however, remains to be seen. Ultimately, the conclusion of Olsen’s argument is what activists and interested parties need to be aware of. To see the brief in its entirety, click here.
Here’s the conclusion filed today:
For the foregoing reasons, Olsen request that this Court retain jurisdiction of this case, remand to DEA for further consideration of the most current scientific information, and order DEA to poll the States that have enacted medical marijuana laws and ask them to address the issue of federal scheduling.
Game on, DEA.