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Michael Hupy Was 30 Years Ahead of New York Governor Cuomo on Medical Marijuana Use

By Rex Michael Hupy

New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to use executive action that will allow 20 hospitals to distribute medical marijuana throughout New York State.  Cuomo commented, "Research suggests that medical marijuana can help manage pain and treatment of cancer and other serious illnesses."

New York will join 19 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing medical marijuana use for patients. 

Under federal law marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 drug alongside LSD, ecstasy, and heroine, meaning that it is a “drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”   

Over thirty years ago Attorney Michael Hupy became one of the first attorneys to argue in court that marijuana is misclassified as a schedule 1 drug.  In State v. Whitehall and Hadden (1982) Hupy challenged the constitutionality of the schedule 1 classification while defending his clients who were found in possession of 3,300 pounds of marijuana.  Hupy called expert witnesses Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School, Robert Randall of Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics, and psychologist Andrew Kane.  All three witnesses testified about the medical uses for marijuana and the minimal dangers of marijuana compared to tobacco and alcohol.

With only three days in court, Hupy was able to prove that marijuana is misclassified as a schedule 1 drug leading to the dismissal of all charges brought against his clients.

Though Hupy was able to prove that marijuana is misclassified and 20 states and the District of Columbia agree, the federal government still has not taken the necessary steps towards reclassifying marijuana.