Nevada Judge Orders Marijuana Removed as Schedule I Drug

Nevada Judge Orders Marijuana Removed as Schedule I Drug

A District Judge has ordered the state’s Pharmacy Board to remove cannabis as a Schedule I drug.



Clark County District Judge Joe Hardy ruled last week that the Nevada Board of Pharmacy "exceeded its authority" by classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance and violated the state Constitution in making the designation, according to a recent report.


Hardy had previously concluded that the Schedule I classification was unconstitutional because the state had legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use. However, he withheld final judgment until last week to allow petitioners and respondents sufficient time to submit filings in the case.


As part of his final merit-based ruling, the judge found that the board "acted outside of its authority when it failed to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I substances" following the adoption of medical marijuana reform in the state Constitution.


The ruling goes on to say, "The misclassification is unconstitutional and must be declared invalid."


"The misclassification is unconstitutional and must be declared invalid."

- Ruling by Clark County District Judge Joe Hardy


The lawsuit which prompted the judge's ruling was filed earlier this year by the ACLU of Nevada. It alleges that police have continued to make marijuana-related arrests despite the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis by voters because the Board refuses to take marijuana off its controlled substances list.


The group contends that the designation has generated a legal "loophole" that directly contrasts with constitutional protections for medical marijuana patients that have been in place for an extended period.


The Board attempted to have the suit in which ACLU NV represented the Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community (CEIC) and Antoinette Poole, a Nevada resident convicted of a Class E felony for marijuana possession in 2017, dismissed, but Hardy denied their motion in July.


The organization asserted that appropriate authority over marijuana should have fallen under the jurisdiction of the state Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) due to the voter-approved ballot initiatives leading to the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational uses. Moreover, the Board of Pharmacy's refusal to remove marijuana from the controlled substances list has effectively led to unconstitutional prosecutions.


The court ruling, first reported on by the Nevada Independent, also noted that Nevada state law puts substantial regulatory power in the hands of the Department of Taxation as opposed to the Board of Pharmacy, which is not granted such authority under the statute.


As the ruling details, "The Nevada Board of Pharmacy acted outside of its authority when it failed to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I substances upon the enactment of Article 4, Section 38 of the Constitution of the State of Nevada, which recognizes the use of cannabis for medical treatment."


"The Nevada Board of Pharmacy acted outside of its authority when it failed to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I substances upon the enactment of Article 4, Section 38 of the Constitution of the State of Nevada, which recognizes the use of cannabis for medical treatment."

- Ruling by Clark County District Judge Joe Hardy


Officials reported this month that for the 2022 Fiscal Year, cannabis sales totaled just under $1 billion in Nevada, providing more than $152 million in tax revenue, with a majority of the proceeds earmarked for funding schools.


With that amount of economic impact and state marijuana regulators announcing the opening of applications for cannabis consumption lounges earlier this month, the growth and reach of the industry have become exponential for the Silver State. Actions like that of the Board of Pharmacy to refuse the removal of cannabis from the state's controlled substances list while now being declared unconstitutional also wreak of an outdated political agenda that does not enjoy the support of the state's citizens.


Furthermore, as the issue of federal legalization continues to gain strength on Capitol Hill and throughout the country, the days of fearing arrest and prosecution for medically or recreationally consuming cannabis hopefully seemed to be numbered. Election Day is a week away, and with more and more states considering legalization measures this November, that day of reckoning may be much closer than many could have imagined. Get out and VOTE!