updated 4/15/2009 7:29:10 PM ET 2009-04-15T23:29:10

A federal appeals court in California is weighing arguments from a medical marijuana advocacy group that wants to force the government to retract its claim that pot has no medicinal value.

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Lawyers from Americans for Safe Access told a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday that the assessment by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration was based on conservative values, not science.

The group is appealing a lower court judge's 2007 decision to dismiss its lawsuit, which cited a federal law that allows citizens to seek correction of false information put out by the government.

A Justice Department lawyer said that law does not authorize courts to compel federal agencies to defend their published statements.

The appeals court did not signal when it would issue a ruling.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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