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Nevada Judge Orders State Board to Remove Cannabis from Schedule 1

Despite the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes in Nevada, police continue to arrest people for possession as the state’s Board of Pharmacy refuses to reschedule cannabis—but that could soon change with a new ruling.

A judge ordered Nevada Board of Pharmacy on September 14 to take cannabis off its Schedule 1 substance list. This was after ACLU Nevada filed an April lawsuit. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Schedule 1 substances are classified as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Cannabis is classified alongside drugs like heroin or LSD.

Clark County District Judge Joe Hardy declared that the Nevada Constitution does not permit the listing of cannabis in Schedule 1. The Constitution specifically states that marijuana has medicinal uses.

ACLU Nevada stands for the Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community. It is the following: CEIC v. Nevada Board of PharmacyAccording to a press release, he was filed last April in Clark County Court.

“Instead of treating cannabis like alcohol and removing it from the state’s list of controlled substances, Nevada is ignoring its state Constitution and the will of the people,” ACLU Nevada stated at the time.

ACLU Nevada filed a lawsuit against the board for Antoinette poole who was convicted in connection with possession of marijuana. Poole was arrested in 2017 and charged with a Class E felony.

While the judge ruled in favor of Poole, the debate isn’t over: The judge didn’t rule on whether or not the board has the authority to regulate cannabis, because he asked both sides to submit orders on the issue for review.

“A finding of unconstitutionality of the specific statute underlying a conviction  could be a basis to overturn that conviction through a case where that relief is specifically sought,” Athar Haseebullah, executive director of ACLU Nevada, told the Nevada Current. “Just the same, charges moving forward won’t be permitted to be brought under this amorphous scheduling category where cannabis is listed next to heroin.”

The plaintiffs argued that the Board can’t restrict cannabis, because it isn’t restricted under state law.

“The Board can only schedule a substance under the restrictions placed by the Legislature, if that substance, one, has a high potential for abuse, and then two, either has no medical use or cannot be safely distributed,” ACLU Nevada Legal Director Chris Peterson told the judge.

The Board of Pharmacy’s general counsel Brett Kandt argued the federal status and classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance should apply in Nevada as well.

In many other states where cannabis has been legalized, legislators have asked the Board of Pharmacy for cannabis to be removed from Schedule 1 in all of them.

Other measures are also being taken to defend people convicted in cannabis-related cases.

Last month, three nonprofit organizations—the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Nevada Legal Services, and Code for America—were granted a total of $1.2 million from cannabis tax revenue from the Clark County Commission. Code for America was awarded $200,000 and will examine how to make automatic record sealing a reality.

The Code for America Bay Area in California still has several months to determine what is necessary to accelerate this process. It is possible that this could draw attention to Assembly Bill 192 (also known as the Nevada Second Chance Act), which was passed in 2019.