Medical advocates: Obama has authority over cannabis classification

Posted on January 31st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

medical marijuanaMedical marijuana advocates are telling President Barack Obama he has the power to reclassify cannabis after he said Jan. 31 it is up to Congress. In an exclusive CNN interview, Obama responded to a question about the federal cannabis classification by saying that, "what is and isn't a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress." Responded Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA): "President Obama just told the nation during his State of the Union address that because Congress has been unable to act, he would take executive action where he could on behalf of helping the American people,. The president has the authority to reclassify marijuana and could exercise that authority at any time."

In addition to Congress, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the US Attorney General have the authority to reschedule cannabis. Congress in 1970 classified marijuana as a Schedule I substance, meaning it is considered a dangerous drug with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical value. Since then, scientists have discovered the plant has unique therapeutic potential to safely treat a broad range of medical conditions, from multiple sclerosis to cancer. ASA, as part of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC), filed a petition in 2002 to reclassify cannabis for medical use. The DEA denied the petition in July 2011 and subsequently fought ASA's appeal to the DC Circuit. In 2011, the governors of Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington filed their own joint petition to reclassify cannabis for medical use. The same year, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper filed a separate petition, as he was mandated to do according to his state's medical marijuana law. Both of these petitions are currently pending before the DEA. ASA maintains that the Obama administration could approve them at any time.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is currently circulating a sign-on letter among his colleagues in Congress, urging President Obama to exercise his authority to reclassify cannabis for medical use. "If the president is seeking the support of Congress, he should at least say that he'd sign such a bill if it landed on his desk," said Sherer. (ASA, Jan. 31)

Graphic: Herbal Remedies


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