Supreme Court Declines to Hear Medical Marijuana Constitutionality Case

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court announced it is declining to hear a case that challenges the federal marijuana prohibition and its constitutionality. The case was listed among other lawsuits that the court has declined to consider. The case was filed in 2017 by medical cannabis advocates against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Multiple amicus briefs were filed in the Supreme Court in favor of the plaintiffs. Some members of congress signed a brief supporting the lawsuit, including Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). 

According to an article by Marijuana Moment, this decision “represents a sound defeat for the challenge.” The article reported that the plaintiffs received a large amount of support from advocacy groups and members of congress and were hopeful that the case would be heard by the Supreme Court, however, the percentage of cases the Supreme Court does decide to hear is small. 

“While not surprising, as less than one percent of all petitions to the Supreme Court get a hearing, it is still very disappointing, as we (have) been fighting for this case for over three years now … however, we must not forget that this case has been groundbreaking on so many levels” Sebastien Cotte told Marijuana Moment. His son Jagger was a plaintiff in the case. Cotte also said the case did help the plaintiff’s cause progress and could help another similar lawsuit reach the same goal. 

The plaintiffs also included Marvin Washington, a former NFL player, Alexis Bortell, a patient, and Jose Belen, a military veteran. Each of these plaintiffs reportedly require the use of medical marijuana daily. The U.S. District Court and Second Circuit Court of Appeals each determined that the plaintiffs would need to use other channels than the courts to acquire relief, including asking the DEA to reclassify cannabis.