The federal government has ruled marijuana has no accepted medical use and should remain in the same class of drugs as heroin.
Friday's decision comes 9 years after marijuana advocacy groups petitioned the government to reclassify the drug due to the growing research for its ability to treat certain medical ailments. Unfortunately for those groups, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration doesn't exactly agree with the medical benefit marijuana has to offer.
DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart wrote in a letter to organizations petitioning legalization:
"At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy."
Although not pleased with the ruling, pro-pot groups can at least now plea their cases by appealing to the federal courts. Joe Elford, lead attorney for Americans for Safe Access, said:
"We have foiled the government's strategy of delay, and we can now go head-to-head on the merits."
States still maintain the ability to form their own decision on the use of the drug, so don't go throwing out your medical marijuana prescription yet!
In fact, California can expect another vote on general legalization of the substance during the 2012 elections with Proposition 19.
[Image via AP Images.]