Huffman, 17 Members of Congress send letter asking Obama to Reschedule Marijuana
WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) along with 17 other members of Congress, sent a bipartisan letter to President Obama asking him to direct Attorney General Eric Holder to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, as is permitted by 21 U.S.C. § 811.
“We were encouraged by your recent comments in your interview with David Remnick in the January 27, 2014 issue of the New Yorker, about the shifting public opinion on the legalization of marijuana,” the members wrote. “Classifying marijuana as Schedule I at the federal level perpetuates an unjust and irrational system. We request that you 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 signatories on the letter along with Congressman Huffman are Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Sam Farr (CA-20), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Mike Honda (CA-17), 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).
A copy of the letter may be found HERE or below:
February 12, 2014
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We were encouraged by your recent comments in your interview with David Remnick in the January 27, 2014 issue of the New Yorker, about the shifting public opinion on the legalization of marijuana. We request that you take action to help alleviate the harms to society caused by the federal Schedule I classification of marijuana.
Lives and resources are wasted on enforcing harsh, unrealistic, and unfair marijuana laws. Nearly two-thirds of a million people every year are arrested for marijuana possession. We spend billions every year enforcing marijuana laws, which disproportionately impact minorities. According to the ACLU, black Americans are nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite comparable marijuana usage rates.
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.
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. A Schedule I or II classification also means that marijuana businesses in states where adult or medical use are legal cannot deduct business expenses from their taxes or take tax credits due to Section 280E of the federal tax code.
We request that you 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. Furthermore, one would hope that that your Administration officials publicly reflect your views on this matter. Statements such as the one from DEA chief of operations James L. Capra that the legalization of marijuana at the state level is “reckless and irresponsible” serve no purposes other than to inflame passions and misinform the public.
Thank you for your continued thoughtfulness about this important issue. We believe the current system wastes resources and destroys lives, in turn damaging families and communities. Taking action on this issue is long overdue.