Much to the disappointment of a group of on-looking activists who anxiously waited Wednesday to have a California-based Federal Judge pass a ruling to have marijuana removed from the list of most dangerous drugs, she declined.
U.S. District Judge, Kimberly Mueller, who pulled a remarkable volte-face at the final minute, said that though she initially intended on ruling in favor of having marijuana dropped from the Schedule 1 list, she later decided it was up to Congress to decide if the law should be changed.
The unexpected turn of events on Wednesday has suppressed the goal of advocates who seek to have the legalization of the drug become a nationwide phenomenon.
Giving reasons for her unpopular 11th hour decision, Mueller pointed out that over four decades have passed since the Controlled Substances Act was approved, and that it was not in the place of a court to overturn a Federal law, even as they are not makers of public policies.
"It has been 45 years since Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act," she said, though acceding to the fact that "the landscape has changed".
"This is not the court and this is not the time" to overturn federal law, she added, in a statement available on ABC News.
The Federal Court ruling is coming at a time where effort is vigorously underway to have recreational marijuana legalized in California, after 20 other U.S. states have already legalized the use of medical marijuana.
Four other states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska – have taken a further step to allow the use of pot for recreational purposes.
Advocates and experts have reacted to the ruling by saying that although Mueller’s decision to reject marijuana's classification narrowly applies to the case under her purview, and is likely subject to appeal, it has given a solid boost to the growing call to change federal drug law.
Religious Organizations Contribute to the Fight Against Drugs and Drug Use
Just as advocacy groups are relentlessly pushing for restrictions around drug use to be loosened up much more, various religious organizations, on the other hand, are coming together in one voice, putting in remarkable effort to combat the proliferation and negative effects drugs are having on society. One of the ways they are reaching out is by providing anti-drug programs and addiction recovery programs for affected individuals.
The fight against drugs has taken a new dimension, and contributions have been seen from religious groups which include Catholics, Muslims, Methodists, Buddhists and Scientologists. Other efforts are drawn from institutions belonging to the Judaism, Mormonism and non-denominational Christian religious organizations.
The Catholic Human Services Inc. sponsors and runs an Alcohol and Drug Service program that aims to treat Catholics with varying degrees of addiction to alcohol and drugs. The staff list is populated by professional counselors and social workers who work under the close supervision of psychiatrists, who give treatment for alcohol and drug abuse, dependence and other related issues.
The Catholic Church also has a dedicated arm called National Catholic Council on Addiction (NCCA) that was established in 1949 by Fr. Ralph Pfau dedicated to helping Catholics with drug and alcohol addiction issues.
The United Methodist Church on the other hand sponsors the Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence. The mission of the program is ensure that “fewer and fewer United Methodists will suffer alone.”
It aims to make the Methodist churches become safe places where the truth about how addiction is affecting the lives of members can be shared. It is also to help affected members get support from others who understand from first-hand experience.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints similarly has an Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) that incorporates a 12-step process that includes Mormon gospel principles and other activities to foster healing and recovery from drug and alcohol addiction for its members.
Celebrate Recovery is a non-denominational Christian program that uses the words of Christ, rather than psychological theory, to help Christians overcome their addictions. Backed by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and led by Pastor John Baker, Celebrate Recovery was founded in 1991 and has helped over 500,000 individuals with their Bible-centric approach.
Although Scientologists do use prescribed medical drugs when physically ill and rely on the advice and treatment of medical doctors when needed, Scientologists do not take illegal drugs. They feel that illegal drugs produce extremely damaging effects that harm a person physically, mentally and spiritually.
The Church of Scientology has been involved in drug education and prevention and supports the initiative The Truth About Drugs. They work in collaboration with community groups, government agencies, other churches, and educational institutions to reach youth with the Truth About Drugs materials. Their experience with this program shows it has the ability to markedly drop usage rates when young people are properly educated on the harmful effects of drugs.
The Church of Scientology also supports a program to help those who suffer from drug abuse and their families: Narconon, a secular drug rehabilitation program that uses technology developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The Buddhist religious organizations are making their own contributions via their independently run Buddhist Recovery Network. The network seeks to apply Buddhist teachings and practices to aid people suffering from drug abuse record improvement. It is also open to all and anyone.
For Jews, there is Beit T’Shuvah, an organization that uses a “faith-based model, founded on authenticity and wholeness, integrates spirituality, psychotherapy, Jewish teachings, the 12 Steps, and the creative arts.” Their campus is located in West Los Angeles.
The Islamic religion, on the other hand, has established a program called Muslim Sober Companion. It describes itself as in in-house addiction recovery program that helps rehabilitate not only those addicted to drugs, but to alcohol and pornography as well. In this program, people struggling with addictions are tagged with experienced companions who are to help guide them through to recovery.
Information concerning programs set up by more religious organizations are available on this resource page.
- ABC News
- Catholic Human Services
- United Methodist Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence
- Celebrate Recovery
- Scientology FAQ
- The Truth About Drugs
- Buddhist Recovery Network
- Beit T’Shuvah
- Muslim Sober Companion
- Addiction Recovery Guide