Nevada’s drug classification for cannabis ruled unconstitutional

Sept. 19, 2022
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed against the Board of Pharmacy by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada

The Nevada Board of Pharmacy’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug is unconstitutional, a district judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed against the Board of Pharmacy by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada on behalf of plaintiffs Antoine Poole and the Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community, an organization that helps people get established in the state’s marijuana industry.

Cannabis is currently a Schedule 1 drug, on the same level as drugs such as heroin and LSD, meaning the Board of Pharmacy considers those drugs to have a high potential for abuse or no accepted medical use in the United States.

On Wednesday, District Judge Joe Hardy Jr. agreed with the ACLU’s argument that marijuana does have an accepted medical use, because voters amended the state constitution in 2000 to legalize medical marijuana.

“The constitutional right to use marijuana upon the advice of a physician does establish that marijuana has an accepted medical use and treatment in the United States,” Hardy said.

Brett Kandt, a lawyer representing the Board of Pharmacy, argued that federal agencies had not determined that marijuana has an accepted medical use.

Kandt declined to comment after the hearing.

Chris Peterson, a lawyer with the ACLU, said Wednesday’s ruling was the first step to overturning marijuana-related convictions in the future.

“We’ve not brought it in this case before the court, but we’ll be looking to see whether or not this can be retroactively applied,” Peterson said.

Peterson said Wednesday’s ruling will prevent people from being prosecuted for marijuana-related crimes under laws that only apply to Schedule 1 drugs but don’t specifically reference marijuana.

While the ACLU also argued that the Board of Pharmacy should not have any regulatory power over marijuana, Hardy said he would rule on that issue in the upcoming weeks.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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