18 Members Of Congress Ask Obama To Reschedule Cannabis

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Jeff Roberts

On February 12th, a bipartisan letter to President Obama was sent by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) along with 17 other members of Congress, asking him to tell Attorney General Eric Holder to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to Schedule II, meaning marijuana possession wouldn’t be as much of a crime as heroin, and would be punished the same as if someone had the prescription drug Oxycodone if carried illegally, such as not having a prescription.

18 Members Of Congress Ask Obama To Reschedule Cannabis

According to the letter:

“You said that you don’t believe marijuana is any more dangerous than alcohol: a fully legalized substance, and believe it to be less dangerous ‘in terms of its impact on the individual consumer,’”…“This is true. Marijuana, however, remains listed in the federal Controlled Substances Act at Schedule I, the strictest classification, along with heroin and LSD. This is a higher listing than cocaine and methamphetamine, Schedule II substances that you gave as examples of harder drugs. This makes no sense.”

The irony here is blatant – A Schedule I drug necessitates that a substance has no medicinal uses, has a high potential for abuse, and is associated with a lack of safety under medical supervision. For one, cannabis has been known to treat a number of ailments and disease (here, here, here). A high potential for abuse is an irrelevant condition at best, considering tobacco and alcohol are among the most addictive and widely available substances today, killing millions of people every year, yet they are not only legal but are even heavily promoted (alcohol more so) through mass advertising. [1] These statistics also challenge the third schedule condition of safety when realizing that there has been no recorded mortality associated with cannabis use in history. [4]

In the U.S. alone, over 1 billion dollars is spent annually on cannabis incarcerations, 88 percent of which are possession charges. In 2005, an estimated 785 000 people were arrested for cannabis offences. [2] According to U.S. federal statistics, over 94 million people (about 40 percent) aged 12 and older have used cannabis at some point. [2] The question begs, why are we treating millions of innocent people like criminals for possession or use of a plant?

Luckily, this knowing is finally being addressed by congress. The letter continues:

“Cocaine and methamphetamine are more dangerous than marijuana. Everyone knows this,” said Blumenauer. “Tobacco, which is a legal substance, kills an estimated 443,000 people a year, while there are no recorded examples of marijuana overdoses. The Administration needs recognize the relative dangers of these drugs if it wants to restore its credibility. The first step is to reschedule marijuana, which the Administration can do unilaterally. We can’t let this arbitrary and incorrect bureaucratic classification ruin any more lives.”

The signatories on the letter along with Congressman Blumenauer are Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09), Sam Farr (CA-20), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Mike Honda (CA-17), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), James P. McGovern (MA-02), James P. Moran (VA-08), Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), Jared Polis (CO-02), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), and Peter Welch (VT-At Large).

We are looking forward to the day when cannabis laws are rewritten with logic and morality as the new foundation for justice.

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