Eighteen members of the United States Congress this week wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to reclassify Cannabis from a Schedule I drug to a lower level which would allow medical uses. The current DEA classification means that, in the eyes of the federal government, there’s no legitimate use for marijuana. Even cocaine and meth have limited medical legitimacy.
The letter, recognizing Obama’s recent comments that he doesn’t think marijuana is “more dangerous than alcohol,” argues that the current federal designation for Cannabis “recognizes no medical use, disregarding both medical evidence and the laws of nearly half of the states that have legalized medical marijuana.”
The signatories, including southern California Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, want Obama to:
… instruct Attorney General Holder to delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate way, at the very least eliminating it from Schedule I or II.
The marijuana decriminalization movement was emboldened by this show of force in Washington. Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, said:
The president has the authority to reclassify marijuana and could exercise that authority at any time.
Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said:
No drug should be listed as Schedule I, which limits potentially life-saving research into both benefits and dangers of a substance and guarantees a violent, illegal market for the product. This is even more true of marijuana right now, when after four decades of failure, states are doing their best to find something that works and federal regulations keep interfering with their ability to do so.
This feels like a political long shot. But, Obama doesn’t have to run for re-election. So, you never know.
Editor's note: this article originally published on the 420 Times on Thursday, February 13, 2014.