Cannabis reformers are looking for a huge change in the federal cannabis policy in the final year that the Obama administration is active. However, they are probably going to find themselves unhappy.
At a press briefing on Friday, John Earnest White House press secretary reported that any change on marijuana would need to enter through congress. President Barack Obama had hinted his opinion a day earlier at the House Democratic retreat in Baltimore, where he announced that pot advocacy is not at the top of his list of priorities, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn, states.
Cohen stated that he question whether or not President Obama actually had plans to reschedule cannabis. At the moment, the federal government has marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, “the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence.” Sundry lawmakers would like to move the plant to Schedule 2, which will help extract the medical uses of marijuana. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders would like to remove the drug from the federal list completely.
But according to Cohen, Obama did not have a very good response. “On marijuana, he gave the same answer as when I asked him seven years ago: ‘If you get me a bill, and get it on my desk, I’ll probably sign it,’” Cohen stated. “There are some in the Democratic Party who have urged the president to take this kind of action. The president’s response was, ‘If you feel so strongly about it, and you believe there is so much public support for what it is that you’re advocating, then why don’t you pass legislation about it and we’ll see what happens.’”
“This isn’t the first time President Obama has unnecessarily tried to pass the buck on marijuana rescheduling to Congress,” Tom Angell, a proponent of cannabis wrote. “It’s unacceptable and frankly embarrassing for a president who has so nonchalantly acknowledged his own marijuana use to allow the federal government to continue classifying cannabis in such an inappropriate category.”
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