A group of Michigan citizens and organizations is suing the Michigan Board of Pharmacy to eliminate marijuana from the Schedule I list of controlled substances.

The state’s Public Health Code, which was enacted in 1978, treats marijuana like opioids and heroin, and that is “unconstitutional under Michigan law,” wrote Michael Komorn, attorney for the residents and organizations in the complaint recently filed in the Court of Claims.

“Even opium, a ‘hard narcotic’ and the root of the opioid epidemic, is a Schedule 5 drug when sold in small concentrations,” he said. “As there is no rational basis to classify marijuana with hard narcotics, it now must be classified below Schedule 5. As no such schedule exists, marijuana must be de-scheduled.”

Komorn, president of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, also argued that by passing the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA), the “Legislature has by implication repealed . . . marijuana’s controlled substance status.”

The MMFLA and Michigan Controlled Substances Act (MCSA), he noted, are “fundamentally inconsistent and incapable of being harmonized.”

The lawsuit also takes aim at Board of Pharmacy’s Chair Nichole Cover, who is named as a defendant, because she oversees both the pharmacy board, which considers marijuana illegal, and is a member of the licensing board, where medical marijuana is considered legal. It also notes that Cover serves as a health care supervisor for Walgreens, who recognizes that “marijuana has been used to relieve pain, digestive and psychological disorders for more than 3,000 years,” according to the complaint.

“The absurdity of marijuana’s continued inclusion on the Michigan controlled substances list is demonstrated by the conflicting positions of the three organizations to which she belongs (conflicting positions that she presumably must simultaneously hold in her head),” Komorn’s complaint noted.

David Harns, communications manager for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, declined to comment on the lawsuit because the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office, said the AG “is in the process of reviewing and preparing a response to the complaint.”

Recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan when voters approved Proposition 1 in the November general election.

However, marijuana remains listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and its use remains illegal under federal law. But, Attorney General nominee William Barr, reportedly said he wouldn’t go after marijuana companies operating in compliance and he encouraged Congress to address conflicts between federal and state cannabis policies.

The plaintiffs include poet and activist John Sinclair; medical marijuana patient Josey Scoggin; Dr. Christian Bogner, who researches the effects of cannabis to treat autism; pharmacist Paul Littler; NORML of Michigan, a social welfare organization; and the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association.

This story presented in cooperation with MIRS, a Lansing-based news and information service.