Attorney General Eric Holder admits the Obama administration is letting politics overrule science when it comes to federal classification of medical marijuana. Holder refuses to use his power to move marijuana to a lower schedule, which would legally acknowledge its medical potential, for purely political reasons.
The Controlled Substance Act says the Attorney General should evaluate a drug’s scheduling based on the science regarding its medical benefits and potential for abuse. Instead Holder is making his decision about marijuana scheduling based entirely on how much political cover he has from Congress:
“I think that given what we have done in dealing with the whole Smart on Crime initiative and the executive actions that we have taken, that when it comes to rescheduling, I think this is something that should come from Congress,” Holder said. “We’d be willing to work with Congress if there is a desire on the part of Congress to think about rescheduling. But I think I’d want to hear, get a sense from them about where they’d like to be.”
This honesty from the administration about their reason for not doing the right thing is at least an improvement from past statements. When President Obama has been asked about this issue his habit has been to mislead the public by pretending he is powerless to do anything.
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy. The ebook is on sale for $1.99 his week in celebration of 4/20.
Photo of Eric Holder via USDAgov