US Legislators Lead The Push For Federal Cannabis Policy Reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The tides seem to be turning, at least as far as cannabis policy in America is concerned. A group of 18 legislators sent a letter to President Barack Obama Wednesday that states the current classification of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance “makes no sense.”
As noted in the letter, “Classifying marijuana as Schedule I at the federal level perpetuates an unjust and irrational system. Schedule I recognizes no medical use, disregarding both medical evidence and the laws of nearly half of the states that have legalized medical marijuana.”
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the letter’s lead author, explains that reclassifying cannabis “is a step the administration can take to start to rationalize federal marijuana policy to bring it in line with the advances that are happening in the states.”
Rep. Cohen Introduces Bill To Address Faulty Cannabis Policy
The letter comes directly after a bill was introduced by one of its co-authors that would change federal law so that the “drug czar” is no longer required to oppose legalization of cannabis for medical or social consumption.
On Tuesday, Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) filed the Unmuzzle the Drug Czar Act of 2014, which would amend the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998.
“Prohibiting the drug czar’s office from studying marijuana legalization is like prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from exploring new ways to reduce pollution.” – Dan Riffle
Specifically, the measure would remove the following language from the obligations of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) director:
(12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of [the Controlled Substances Act] and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that —
- (A) is listed in schedule I of section 812 of this title; and
- (B) has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration
In a statement Wednesday, Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, applauded Rep. Cohen for his decision to challenge these “absurd and antiquated rules.”
“Prohibiting the drug czar’s office from studying marijuana legalization is like prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from exploring new ways to reduce pollution,” Mr. Riffle explains.