Today, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) 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.
“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,’” the letter reads. “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.”
If a drug is listed under Schedule I, it means that the federal government recognizes no medical use. Including marijuana in this classification disregards both medical evidence and the laws of nearly half of the states that have legalized it for medical purposes. 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.
“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).