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. There is absolutely no justification for prohibition of Marijuana. Not physically, not mentally, not morally.

  2. I think its funny this is coming from a state that neither has a medical marijuana program itself, nor a decriminalized status to allow those who are using medically to avoid jail time. Get real, work on your state before you work on the country. The only way it will change federally is after all states have changed their opinion.
    [Paul Armentano responds: Rep. Cohen is a federal Congressman, hence his call to amend federal law. State lawmakers amend state laws, not federal lawmakers.]

  3. *hands clapping*
    The beauty of this whole thing will, of course, be the response. I’m quite proud of Cogressman Cohen for defending the will of the people. A real American in office, it seems?

  4. I bet the tobacco and alcohol people are arranging this guy’s impeachment, or non reelection. This is a major political gamble, and to him I thank very much for taking the risk no one else will.

  5. To “Nick”: Tennessee is either the second or third largest producer of Marijuana in the Union every year. It would have vast economic benefits for his state.

  6. Good man! maybe some followup letters to Obama, or to our own Representatives would help, maybe try to get other Reps to sign on to the letter as well.
    Judiciary chairman stopped 2306 in its tracks, they’re not gonna hear it. Maybe some of the reps will add their names to the letter Cohen sent, or even write their own

  7. I live in Memphis and Congressman Cohen is a godsend for us seeing as this is a crimson state…he ALWAYS wins re-election by 50-70 % margins. I am proud to have him as my Congressperson. Keep up the EXCELLENT work Mr. Cohen.

  8. We need more Congressmen like Steve Cohen who have the guts to support de-criminalization of marijuana. Alcohol companies and pain pushing drug companies do not want pot legalized because they know their drugs are inferior to marijuana in so many ways.

  9. We actually have a few in the State legislature in Tennessee who have been working diligently for the last several years to move medical cannabis forward here. As a conservative who chooses not to affiliate himself with ANY politcal party, I applaud Congressman Cohen for his actions at the federal level. What he is doing is right and correct for all US Congress members to be doing. If some people are angered because the push is coming from a Congressman who was sent to Washington by a State that isn’t a part of the leading edge of the MMJ fight, then that is just silly. Do we really care what state’s congress members get recognized for pushing this issue for us? Some people need to get over themselves and just say “Thank you Congressman Cohen.”

  10. … only ‘thousands’ of Americans are helped by pot? I would guess hundreds of thousands at current; the number should be greater though.

  11. @5
    There are more then one. Just look at the co-sponsors of the bill listed in the article.
    You have to give the good guys props and he is one.
    Just wish Carter was more vocal and Clinton would get his head out of his ass and admit he inhaled and that there is nothing wrong with recreational use.

  12. Many of our injured troops depend on it for its pain killing ability and properties.Otherwise all the reg docs can do is turn them into Heroin junkies. (Narcotic pain killers) Same poison!

  13. I think it’s ironic that the same government that turns a deaf ear to the American People in regards to marijuana prohibition year after year pounced right on the “ban wagon” when it comes to synthetic cannabinoids like JWH-018. Every time a such a substance is banned, a new black market is created.
    Way too much control. Here’s a link to a GTOriginal Song Parody called “Reefer Laws”. Enjoy, man.
    ~GT
    http://garytucker.bandcamp.com/track/reefer-laws

  14. President Obama COULD end the ‘war on some drugs’ / ‘war on people’ with nothing more than an Executive Order to have DHHS / ONDCP / DEA / DOJ fall into line.
    Simple really — all he need do is command the DEA to abide by the DEA’s own administrative law judge, who recommended / ordered the DEA to reschedule cannabis. The DEA should fall into line at that point, along with the DOJ. The CSA schedule is also controlled by the DHHS — you know, that government entity that actually has patents on the medical application of cannabis (#6630507) who the DEA is supposed to comply with.
    The messy bits — temporary USA withdrawal from the 1961 UN CSA treaty in order to eliminate cannabis entirely from the CSA drug schedule — is not only a UN SOP that has been done by other countries also. Case in point: President Evo Morales withdrawal of Bolivia from the 1961 CSA convention for the indigenous use of coca leaves in Bolivia’s culture.
    Obama would create a nation-wide jobs program virtually overnight — medical marijuana, hemp products, etcetera that would not cost the government any stimulus funds to get started.
    New industries, new medicines, new jobs and business opportunities, and new revenue streams. It would also re-create the populist base that the Obama regime has widely been seen to have abandoned, just in the nick of time for the 2012 elections.
    Of course, that is all a pipe-dream, because Obama will do none of those things — he’s a neo-liberal corporatist whose allegiance is to Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Banks, and the Military Industrial Complex. And without such a dramatic populist change as that, Obama isn’t likely to win re-election. (I know I will not be voting again for him otherwise … )

  15. Legalize cannabis and return industrial hemp! The war on drugs has failed and marijuana prohibition should end immediately so on with “Plan B”!

  16. Gil Kerlikowske could not do anything about it and neither could President Obama. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 is a political virus that feeds on the value of marijuana.

  17. As a Tennesseean, I’m glad to see that such a man exists amongst my neighbors and represents my livelihood in a sensible manner. He is perhaps the only elected official in TN to openly fight against our draconic drug laws.

  18. sadly this will be stonewalled or slapped back with the usual lies and propaganda.
    but it’s nice to see a FEDERAL congressman showing he has balls.

  19. Why not also mention the fact that methamphetamine (specifically “Chrystal meth” even) AND cocaine are both SCHEDULE 2. Does the drug czar really believe that cocaine and meth is LESS dangerous than cannabis…that alone should point out the stupidity of drug scheduling in this country, and our policy’s.

  20. The more that is revealed about how cannabinoids act in our system, the more urgent legalization becomes. I appreciate the Congressman’s help on my behalf. I cannot get my own representative to see anything other than DEA dogma.

  21. You’re right on Neil,there is no justification. I would just like to add the word Logical. The lack of logical laws are another reason why so many of us have lost all faith in our Federal Government.
    Listening to the Czar, the DEA, and the FDA spew non stop lies based totally on hearsay,is an insult.

  22. Thank you congressman Cohen. This common-sense discussion needs to take place in our nation. It is essential if we are to move forward as a strong country in this era.

  23. Mr. Cohen presents a clear, factual, concise, polite, respectful plea for sanity with regard to marijuana prohibition. The ONDCP has heard it all before and rejected it, so what will be different this time? Maybe, just maybe, the increasingly receptive mainstream press will discover this letter and give it some airtime.

  24. One thing is for sure..the goverment is afraid of Ron Paul and for good reason he is for the people..so when it comes time to vote first make sure you are registered then write Ron Paul in..screw the media..cnn..fox..Perry is a cronie..signs death warrents without batting an eye..makes lots of below minimum wage jobs..bachman has 14 foster kids..nice check there..the only one who has kept to the same story for his entire career has been Ron Paul..he is a good man..I want to live in a country of the free and the brave..not a country of bullies , the world hates America..its the goverment that has caused that..I am an honest, kind, family oriented person..this shit has got to stop..we need peace!! so please vote Ron Paul

  25. Can he be nominated for president? Seriously, this is the only politician that has spoken honestly (not just this subject) and is actually for the people. It’s about time we had a voice in Congress.

  26. I give a hearty salute to Congressman Cohen for his sensibility on this issue. I also, once again, salute Mr. Kerlikowske (minus all fingers except middle one)!
    As always, I am happy to learn that not all of our elected officials are complete idiots regarding this issue and show intelligence and compassion for those of us that choose to use cannabis. I’ve added Mr. Cohen to my list of people I would vote for!

  27. I would love to see Kerlikowske’s response to this letter! Also, I’d like to know what Michelle Leonhart and even Mr. Obama have to say about it. I suspect that, like usual, they will ignore it since they can’t legitimately argue against the growing overwhelming evidence that cannabis is not the evil drug they have been lying about for longer than I’ve been alive (55 and counting…).

  28. My thanks to Mr. Cohen, I’ll write his office later. I have emailed my congressional team twice in support of HR 2306. NORML made that possible with linkage. Unfortunately, I am down a senator due to his lack of discrestion with a female staffer and the subsequent hush job given to her husband. But the rest of the team knows my opinion.
    And thanks for the insight David

  29. Well, Well, Well, I’ve been in Tennessee a long time, virtually all my life and I know it’s MJ business very well. In short, we simply have recognized our Republican State to be staffed with an over abundant supply of Anti-Marijuana groups that have never had an impact on Tennesseans who desire MJ. MJ flows here from all over the continent, we’re a “Cross Roads,” for drug traffic with Highway I-40 running through the state. Tennesseans must wait for the old men and women in political offices to just die or be voted out.

  30. I like it,
    its just getting the big voices to talk about these issues. We need more congressman doing this. No one wants to listen to the facts. I passed all my college finals over the summer smoking my whole way through and averaged a 3.8 average.
    If I didn’t have pot throughout my schooling I can say for sure I don’t know how I would have had the motivation and mental strength to keep reading after 13 hour days making me feel like a zombie. That and coffee 🙂

  31. It should be apparant now why Obama changed his position on legalization after he was elected. Congress won’t let him pass ANYTHING.
    So now, I am rethinking my decision not to vote for him a 2nd time. It does look as the Republicans are bent on Romney or Perry as their nominee. Neither one is worth a shit on ANY issue, let alone legalizing pot. They just won’t do it.
    So the thought here is maybe Obama will fuck em all up and do something for legalization in his 2nd term – just out of spite. We can always hope………

  32. 1st plan, vote for Ron Paul in primaries. 2nd plan, vote for least likely to support prohibition…considering Barry’s lies, can’t imagine wanting to support anyone except Paul, but unlikely he will be one of the finals. Too bad we don’t have a “non of the above” like I have read the Russians have…really?
    [Editor’s note: This, in the eyes of many, is a realistic game plan.]

  33. I applaud congressman steve cohen. Lets hope the ONDCP listens. I also hope they don’t try to catch congressman cohen in a bind like congressman weiner(D-IL).Both congressmen spoke out in cases where they felt strongly, the reason congressman weiner was kicked out because the powers that be, did not want him interfering. Good luck , and im on your side congressman cohen.

  34. Don’t let TN fool ya…there’s tons and tons of great herb in TN. Wherever there’s mountains…there will be herb…i just wish they lighten up on pot b/c people have to go to the mountains and tear up the land…

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