While attending the White House Correspondents’ dinner Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to the Huffington Post that President Obama misled Rolling Stone about federal marijuana law. From the Huffington Post:
Attorney General Eric Holder was a guest of The Huffington Post at the correspondents’ dinner. Before it began, a HuffPost reporter noted to Holder that Obama’s reference to “congressional law” was misleading because the executive branch could simply remove marijuana from its “schedule one” designation, thereby recognizing its medical use.
“That’s right,” Holder said.
After Kimmel’s speech, a Holder deputy told HuffPost that there was no coordinated war on medical marijuana, but that some individual clinics were breaking both state and federal laws.
In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Obama provided a factually wrong answer that radically distorted the nature of federal law in an attempt to deflect criticism for the federal crackdown on medical marijuana. Obama claimed he “can’t nullify Congressional law” when it comes to medical marijuana, even though the Controlled Substance Act actually gives the Executive branch the authority to “reschedule” (reclassify) marijuana without Congressional action. By simply moving marijuana to a lower schedule the Obama administration could make medical marijuana legal under federal law. Obama would not need to nullify this Congressional law, because Congress already gave him the authority to change marijuana’s legal status.
It is very important that Attorney General Holder himself admits that Obama’s “can’t nullify Congressional law” statement is completely misleading, because the relevant section of the Controlled Substance Act specifically gives him, the Attorney General, the power to implement a process to reschedule cannabis administratively.
Even Obama’s Attorney General admits there is nothing forcing the administration to wage a war on medical marijuana and nothing stopping the administration from making medical marijuana legal under federal law. This is an active choice the administration is making.