Obama has claimed incorrectly he does not have the power to reschedule marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) along with seventeen other members of Congress sent a letterto President Obama asking him to reschedule marijuana. The letter requests that Obama “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.”

Currently marijuana is classified as Schedule I. It is the highest scheduling and classifies marijuana as having no accepted medical value according to the federal government. Any drug’s schedule can be changed by new legislation from Congress or unilaterally by the executive branch. The latter is how the issue of drug scheduling is most often handled.

These members of Congress believe having marijuana as Schedule I “perpetuates and unjust and irrational system,” and ignores the medical evidence. Given that Obama personally said he thinks marijuana is less dangerous that alcohol they feel it makes “no sense” for him to continued to keep it Schedule I.

So far President Obama has aggressively fought to keep marijuana Schedule I and even repeatedly lied about his ability to make this change. His administration has battled in court efforts to compel them to reschedule marijuana and effectively ignored a rescheduling petition from several sitting governors.

Hopefully, now with even some in Congress pushing for him to take action on rescheduling Obama won’t be able to pretend this isn’t his responsibility.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

Photo by Steve Jurvetson, used under Creative Commons license