A decision by the New Jersey Superior Court of Appeals will force the state administration to reconsider cannabis’ Schedule I designation under state statutes.
The case was brought by a convicted cannabis trafficker who sought to have the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs reschedule cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule IV, arguing that because the legislature has determined cannabis has medicinal value via the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, it should be rescheduled accordingly. The court cites two studies that suggest “marijuana has ‘potential therapeutic value’” for pain relief, appetite stimulation, control of nausea and vomiting, reduction in muscle spasms, controlling anxiety, treatment of cancer symptoms and chemotherapy, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma “and other serious illnesses.”
“To be clear, our opinion does not mandate reclassification, we simply hold that the Director erred in determining he lacked authority to reclassify,” the decision states. “We note that if the Director decides to remove marijuana from Schedule I, that would not decriminalize it, as possession or sale of substances under other schedules are illegal.”
The decision notes that when the state scheduled cannabis in 1970, no state had enacted any medical cannabis laws and given the new evidence, there is now a reason to revisit that decision.
According to data from the state Department of Health, there are 15,490 New Jersey resident registered in the state’s medical cannabis program.