Congressman Steve Cohen Demands The Obama Administration Reschedule Marijuana

Tennessee Congressman Steven Cohen (D) is urging the Obama administration to rethink its support for the criminal prohibition of marijuana. Rep. Cohen is a longtime critic of marijuana prohibition (Watch him grill FBI Director Robert Mueller over the claim that cannabis is a ‘gateway drug’ here) and a primary co-sponsor of HR 2306: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.
This week, Rep. Cohen sent a letter to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske calling on the agency to support changing marijuana’s status as a schedule I prohibited drug and to respect the laws of states that have legalized it for its medical utility.
“There is no evidence that marijuana has the same addictive qualities or damaging consequences as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine,” states Cohen, “and should not be treated as such.”
He adds: “We should not deny the thousands of Americans who rely on the benefits that marijuana provides. I strongly recommend that this administration allow states that have chosen to legalize medical marijuana to enact strong regulations without fear of prosecution. [W]e should not interfere with the will of the people to enact these compassionate laws.”
You can view the entirety of his letter below:

85 thoughts

  1. Does anyone realize our society is being ushered into nationally habitual random drug testing? It’s pretty controversial if you ask me. What a great way to let our government become fascist towards our basic human privacy and constitutional rights!
    Let’s paint a picture for those who are facetious about this idea…
    Who will receive random drug testing: Children in public schools, coming to almost every state at some point: random drug testing of any person operating cars on roads, random drug testing by at least 60% of employers (and steadfastly rising), and random drug testing after pregnancy. It’s EVERYWHERE. It’s here to stay because WE didn’t take action.

  2. I want to add my voice to the cheers of support for Congressman Steve Cohen, one of our last two Democratic Congressmen in Tennessee (thanks to unverifiable voting machines and the Republicans who program them … in secret.) Since no one else here seems to know what’s been happening in Tennessee vis a vis medical cannabis, here’s the scoop.
    In 2010, our greatly revised Safe Access to Medical Cannabis bill (which one Netherlands government official has called the most ambitious mmj bill he has seen) PASSED every House committee in our legislature, including receiving a 20-4 vote in our House Health and Human Resources committee. After hearing more than an hour of testimony and meeting one-on-one with several mmj patients, the only physician in our legislature, a small town conservative Republican, changed his vote and supported our bill. We appreciated the co-sponsorship of our bill by 14 House Democrats. However, because of Republican control of our Senate in 2010, it went nowhere there.
    This year, with the voting machines having surrended control of our House to the Repubs also, our bill did not get a single hearing.
    The TN Safe Access to Medical Cannabis bill has been described as the most tightly controlled and yet the most patient-friendly mmj bill ever proposed. For a position paper on the bill, visit this link, entitled: “The $60 (medical cannabis) ounce: a not-so-modest proposal.”×6889020
    Thanks again, Steve, for your support for science, common sense and compassion. I look forward to seeing you at our college reunion in October. I’ll be smiling — illegal or not. Hope you will be too.

  3. To all 3,141 Genesist Colonies in the United States.
    “People do the damnedest things – don’t they” – like put up with the DEA and pot-phobic prohibs. It’s refreshing to see someone come to their senses. Find our friends in Congress and support the hell out of them. SUPPORT – SUPPORT – SUPPORT.

  4. It is extremely important that Mr. Cohen and any other national politician speak out about the end of prohibition. The more this issue is in front of people the better. Eventually the truth about cannabis will be excepted.

  5. Many a state would quickly change its laws prohibiting marijuana if the federal government were out of the way and they wouldn’t have to worry about receiving letters from the federal prosecutors and shit.

  6. Both President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder could end the madness, with the swipe of a pen, and the guts to face a morbidly obese goon squad as they angrily denouce such action, because it cost them! THEM!!!
    It’s not simply “support of states with medical marijuana laws” in place, it’s the fact cannabis simply does not fit the profile, has no legitimately documented cases of being a danger to society, or individual, and cannabis itself is safe enough, to permit lawful use and growing your own.
    When consequences occur, as they do for most anything, even water, then the appropriate agency should be in charge of dealing with it. This is common sense.
    Our society is fortunate to have extremely capable police, mental health professions and teachers. We also are gifted with what’s as close to a civilized society as they come, but whether that holds is yet to be seen.The recent circus of the debt ceiling debate really gives me pause, and the so called “tea-party”, who are they? All I can figure is they stole my flag and caused it disgrace, I referring to the colonial “Dont Tread On Me” flag. Everything I’ve seen and witnessed tells me they are for big business, prohibition, low tax extension for the wealthy, and continuing tax burden on the middle class, and ignorance of the unemployed and those living in poverty. And it seems they control the House.
    Kudos to Sen. Cohen, we do need his support and mind based on reality. I only think, we’re selling our efforts short if we continue to push this as a medical marijuana program… there is zero prove that use of the cannabis plant is harmful, that it causes madness, or violence. There is zero proof that cannabis use is a stepping stone to harder drugs – in that those who use it develop an obsession for harder drugs. There is only proof of association in that hard drug dealers often sell cannabis too.
    There is no logic to subjecting millions of Americans to possible arrest, incarceration, huge fines and lawyer costs over the use of cannabis as a therapeutic natural plant and therapeutic casual use as an alternative to much the same desired effects as alcohol, with the exception that use of cannabis is far less dangerous and addictive.
    My point… the War on Drugs, the National Drug Policy, the job of the DEA far exceeds what is safe, rational, or appropriate. The laws create the crime… for which there is really no crime committed!

  7. If I was in Rep. Cohen’s district, this is the letter which I would send him.
    Dear Representative Cohen,
    Thank you for your recent letter to Director Kerlikowske concerning the rescheduling of marijuana.
    There is another approach to which many of us ascribe, which will achieve the same ends through a different sequence of events. I hope you will see the reasonableness of it.
    Amend the 104 word tautology of a definition of marijuana to this simple definition which actually shows respect for our Constitution.
    The term ‘marijuana’ means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L.
    When the federal definition of marijuana is made to be a more Just definition, cannabis will be freed to the States and the People, then marijuana can be rescheduled.
    For more information, google Talking Points for the Peloton.

  8. While I appreciate Congressman Cohen’s common sense approach to marijuana regulation, I must disagree that law enforcement should be focused on other drugs. Any drug that could get someone high that is outlawed will thrive in the criminal market, and legalizing only marijuana is only solving part of the problem. Granted, a big part, and I don’t expect heroin to be legalized anytime soon, but until all drugs are legal to adults, all the suffering, injustice, and crime that comes with prohibition will continue.

  9. Way to go Mr. Cohen. Now is the time to put the foot to metal and force this idiocy to end so we can on with some real problems.

  10. @60 – I believe you are wrong in your assumption that any drug that can get someone high will thrive. The reason is that, I believe, most of us would not consume a drug we did not believe was safe. For example, I’ve read that some people (probably mostly teenagers) breathe in freon to get high. That’s really dangerous! Sniffing model glue will get you high too, but again, that’s really dangerous. The main reason I care primarily about marijuana is that it is safe!

  11. September, 2011
    PORTLAND, Ore. — The new president of the State Sheriff’s Association says Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Program is out of control.
    I’d say the ( legal ) drug Companies are really the ones ” OUT OF CONTROL ” .

  12. I along with many responsible Long Islanders want to personally thank Congressman Cohen (D.) Tn. for speaking up once again to the Drug Czar and trying to clarify the non-addictive effects of cannabis. I also want to thank you for coming on board with HR#2306. You Sir, are very appreciated. Camille Fie L.I.

  13. Besides sending this to Czar, he should have sent it to EVERY single state and all the states then send the same thing….that will open their eyes.

  14. If hemp were legal we would’nt have to cut anymore
    trees down. Henry Ford wanted to make his car bodies
    out of hemp, and be powered by bio-fuel made from hemp.
    We could make paper bags again, no more plastic, Levi
    Strauss would be pissed, if someone made jeans out of
    hemp they would out last cotton. Everyone is talking
    on the medical benifits, think of the commerical.
    Clothing, paper(t.p),wood products,food.

  15. What I would like to see in addition to this would be the commercial/agricultural use of hemp. I’ve dreamed of this for the majority of my time on this planet; especially while living in the great state of TN. The people have little to say as apparently we like to reject new ideas and empirical data. Thanks, Cohen, for all of the work on this matter. Thanks Norml. Heads up, eyes open to us all.

  16. We all live in a country whos govt lie’s to us…..Wow who ever would think that……No wonder the rest of the world looks at america with a smirk on their face…..We have a law that is based on a LIE…..God bless America…..PLEASE

  17. 74. Lames
    It’s a plastic world – run by plastic people. Everything they produce is hazardous to our health – and – that includes their plastic laws. I believe jeans were originally made of canvas [hemp]. Anyway – we give the whole matter too much lip service and not enough ass action. Hang in there.

  18. President Obama needs to take a stand now!!!If he want to be President again, he really needs to listen to the many patients that would like a choice of meds that they take. What is the problem with that? Except we have a few hard noses that could care less about us, only want to live the good life on what they make from illegal marijuana!

  19. I can appreciate what Mr. Cohen is doing but really its up to Obama. He could tell Gil to shut up and listen but he wont becouse he is SCARED. I agree with what david 762 and Jeanne said, Obama needs to show some LEADERSHIP and show them republicans who is BOSS!!! especialy John Boehner!!!

  20. All of you talking about the obama needing to be re-elected that way he can legalize MJ in his second term, DONT BE SO NAIVE!
    To those of you that dont actually understand the tea party, dont base your opinion of it off of Sarah Palin and the other goons. Ron Paul is the father of the tea party, and he is in full support of legalizing MJ, he is in full support of all of our own rights, and state rights. Limiting the FEDs power. He is our only hope for the 2012 election. No more talking about what we need to do, and no more whining about how our government wont let me wah wah wah., Get your asses out and Do something about it!

  21. Perhaps you could show the Obama Administration where Washington (state) is being pushed to legalize marijuana and they figure it will bring in an extra 215 million dollars annually to the state in taxes. I’m sure every state and even the country, itself, could use the tax money. Not to mention, this cuts out all the drug cartels, the illegal immigrants and anyone else sneaking over the border to get marijuana here. If its legal, then they just screws their business completely and there will be no need to sneak it in anymore. I’m pretty sure that saves the country a lot of money too.

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