18 Members of Congress Call on President Obama to Remove Marijuana from Schedule I

Earlier today, 18 members of Congress signed onto a letter that was delivered to President Barack Obama calling for him to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

“We request that you take action to help alleviate the harms to society caused by the federal Schedule I classification of marijuana. Lives and resources are wasted on enforcing harsh, unrealistic, and unfair marijuana laws,” the letter reads, “Nearly two-thirds of a million people every year are arrested for marijuana possession. We spend billions every year enforcing marijuana laws, which disproportionately impact minorities. According to the ACLU, black Americans are nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite comparable usage rates.”

The letter was signed by Representatives Blumenauer (OR), Cohen (TN), Farr (CA), Grijalva (AZ), Honda (CA), Huffman (CA), Lee (CA), Lofgren (CA), Lowenthal (CA), McGovern (MA), Moran (VA), O’Rourke (TX), Polis (CO), Quigley (IL), Rohrabacher (CA), Schakowsky (IL), Swalwell (CA), and Welch (VT).

“Classifying marijuana as Schedule I at the federal level perpetuates an unjust and irrational system. Schedule I recognizes no medical use, disregarding both medical evidence and the laws of nearly half of the states that have legalized medical marijuana,” the letter continued, “A Schedule I or II classification also means that marijuana businesses in states where adult or medical use are legal cannot deduct business expenses from their taxes or take tax credits due to Section 280E of the federal tax code. We request that you 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.”

You can read the full text of the letter here.

96 thoughts



  3. Glad to see this “Do Nothing” congress actually listening to its people! But I guarantee Oklahoma will be the last state to relax the laws.

  4. Having marijuana (cannabis) listed as a schedule one drug is an absolute lie and is completely ridiculous. Indeed, listing it as a schedule 2 drug is incredibly stupid! I can only hope that President Obama acts differently than the previous jerky white presidents…

    I am extremely pleased that even in Nazi Virginia we have at least one honorable representative calling for this idiocy to be changed!

  5. A brief perusal of the CSA drug Schedule is surprising. Some pretty problematic drugs are down in IV and V.

    With alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine not scheduled at all, I’d say the most appropriate thing to do would be to delist it completely.

    The thing is, the initial scheduling was a completely political act. Actually, the initial prohibitions at the state level in the early 20th century were too.

    Politics have always trumped the reality and science of just what THC is and does. It has taken reversing the political landscape to alter the legal status. Has the reversal advanced far enough yet for our “leaders” to feel safe following the publics lead?

  6. But let’s not kid ourselves; by using “think tanks” and “science foundations,” Prohibitionist Corporations like Koch Industries can become underwriters to media like PBS and influence the debate. Koch Industries owns the patent to petrochemical products such as Stainmaster carpets and Lycra that can’t compete with a legal hemp-cannabis market. The Koch brothers also purchased the fiber and paper patents from Dupont in 2004 that originally outlawed hemp by linking it to marijuana propaganda way back in the Marijuana Stamp Act of 1937. (Anslinger, timber industry, U.S. Forestry)

  7. I’m blown away by the initiative and conviction of these 18 members of Congress. It looks like there may be hope for this country at the federal level after all.

  8. We lost a hard working young man with 2 small children this week because he failed a drug test for marijuna. He only smoked once and awhile he was not a heavy user now his and his kids lives are suffering.this needs to stop!Please Mr.President take this action

  9. Looks like the same folks who co -sponsored the bill HR 2306(expired?) introduced by Barney Frank and Ron Paul are the ones here as well. This time I feel something could happen. Great gains have been achieved in this fight thanks to NORLM and others, but state by state really will take to long. Please MR. President do it now. Thanks!

  10. Please…
    Marijuana is a plant. Not a drug.
    It helps my depression, my pain, my anger…
    Please… please… decriminalize it.
    Your constituent,
    James Patrick Shreffler

  11. removing it from schedule anything wont stop work place testing. nicotine is legal and companies test for that. Marijuana may be safer than alcohol but you can’t use it and have a job! so who cares if housewives,college students or rock stars go to jail for possession?

  12. The President has the authority under the Controlled Substances Act to deschedule cannabis once and for all. I suspect he will. He’s at the end if his term, and Democrats (considering the list) want it more than Republicans.
    Deschedule and take the C.S.A. To the Supreme Court Obama!

  13. The Schedule I status of marijuana is so completely without merit that it makes the whole idea of government look bad. As a Democrat, Obama should be very concerned about that. I’m a Democrat and even I’m starting to think government is evil if they can’t correct such an obvious and undeniable error.

  14. I myself have suffered from the melodrama of being charged with 1 gram of cannabis. These charges have ruined my chances to get student loans for college, and that’s something awful for a young adult trying to get ahead on life.

    It is time for change we have been putting up with these absurd laws. We need to take the rest out of congress and leave those 18 to remain. Time to stop being selfish and acknowledge the people and how we are. we aren’t some species that aren’t capable of living in a society without a government. We need change and it’s only with all of us the government doesn’t stand a chance. WE the people!

  15. How about some additional clarification here. If what I have read is correct, under the Controlled Substances Act,Obama can direct the DEA to undertake a process that could adjust the schedule marijuana is listed under, but it would involve exhaustive studies by DHHS which would have to meet specific criteria before the law could be changed. DHHS has said over and over they don’t believe they have the science, so Obama would be wasting his time and this letter is just grandstanding by these congressmen who should know Obama can’t just change the law on whim. So the question is, could Congress introduce a law that would accomplish this and if so, why aren’t these congress people doing that instead of making empty gestures like this letter?

  16. Its time to federally decriminalize it in all states because it can help people that need it medically not to mention free up prison space for people that really need to be in prison..I mean honestly it would be like putting perscription pill addicts,nicotine addicts,alcohol addicts & even caffeine addicts ect in prison because all of that can ruin your health & kill you but not one person has ever died from using marijuana(cannabis)..How many peoples lives have been ruined for having a felony over a plant that can be used safely for medical purposes without side effects or damaging your organs..Im one of those people that it could help me then i wouldnt have to take so many perscription pills that harm my body even more…Its absurd…It should have never been illegal to begin with…The time has come for this to be legal in ALL STATES (including Oklahoma)..The war on drugs & all the money spent to fight it for over 40 yrs was a complete failure…I believe there rare many up in Washinton DC that feel the same way..

  17. Unfortunately I don’t see Obama removing it as a Schedule I drug even though it should never been classified as such in the first place. At least i’m sure he will have to acknowledge it.

  18. Legalize It! This farse has gone on far too long. The prohibition of marijuana in the 30’s had everything to do with big business and corrupt politicians. The medical and economic benefits of legalization are enormous. Let’s take the millions of dollars spent on enforcement and potential tax revenues and put them to good use. Oh and by the way out of the hands of dangerous criminals.

  19. I WISH / PRAY this would happen , so maybe there is still miracles !!! Too much big money at the top to influence mr. Obamanation!!!!

  20. Personally, I have never been convicted of anything other than a traffic offense. I don’t drink or use any type of drug unless it has been prescribed to me by a doctor. I fully understand the medicinal and agricultural contribution marijuana has to offer our nation/world. Frankly, I am tired of spending my tax dollars on petty offenses that have ruined good people’s credible reputations preventing them opportunities of advancement. Please consider the legalization and rescheduling of marijuana and hemp nationwide and encourage worldwide standards to follow. Thank you.

  21. I dunno? I’m Galileo, for Heaven’s sake! Maybe we should base the classification on scientific evidence…

    Medical marijauna is coming. Legalization is going to happen. The fun is watching it happen against all odds.

  22. Jeb has the most relevant comment. What can be taken from it is that those that established their political goal as law and built Government institutions to implement and oversee it, ALSO created serious barriers to change. Those interested in Government imposed social engineering saw to it that opponents would have major structural hurdles to overcome in the form of classic Catch-22s.

    The thing is, exhaustive studies have been, in essence, ongoing for centuries. I’m not familiar with what those studies are required to establish, determine or prove but millions of Americans know that when compared to other substances, THC is very mild in terms of “danger”.

    While the national polls show a rapidly changing political landscape, when it comes to reversing long entrenched status quo’s, it’s clear that exceeding 50% isn’t nearly enough. The power of special interests in DC can beat even polls attaining 80% support. (See gun control and the NRA) Congress is a gang of cowards who need to see a compelling stack of cash to shift from their “safe” position.

    Congress could literally end pot prohibition in a few weeks if they wanted to. But we have a Republican controlled House and many of them are ardent culture warrior zealots. And considering that it was racism that instituted the prohibition (with an assist from Corporate interests) that racism is still very much alive on the right. It just has to remain carefully concealed.

  23. maybe its because we need to keep control of our people in order to get them to fight and stop the other nations that attempt a take over of what we have and so we have to stay alert and not too happy. Maybe we need to get along with them or at least not push them so hard.
    Happy people dont like to fight so much.

  24. @DeathfromaDesk: I can’t get into that whitehouse.gov site. I write down all my passwords, etc, never leave it up to automation, but every time I try to get in there they tell me I have the wrong stuff and bar me from signing anything.

    @scott: Drug testing needs to be made illegal, for everything including tobacco. I love how this atrocity against the American people has spread: initially, it was supposed to apply only to people working safety-sensitive positions for “safety”, then it was spread (against all promises to the contrary) to the general workforce in a blatant and admitted attempt to make employment impossible for anyone who uses any illegal drug, it has been upheld for thirty years due to the fact that they are only testing for “illegal” things and some erroneous reasoning that an employer has the right to search the inside of your body to ensure you are law-abiding, and where has this led to now? Employers who are asking now for your personal email and social networking site passwords/usernames so you can be vetted for a job or monitored while working there, and drug testing has been spread to completely legal substances, where originally it was supposed to be limited only to a certain segment of the workforce that worked with heavy machinery and defended only because it went after “illegal” drugs.

    Drug testing needs to be made illegal, just like the polygraph was made illegal. It’s not impossible, just look up the Employee Polygraph Protection Act–or find it posted on your Workers Rights poster in your workplace, most likely in your breakroom where the employer is required to post it. And some states have made it illegal for employers to force prospective and/or current employees to provide them with email or social media usernames/passwords, with many more state in the process of getting similar legislation through. Why can’t this also apply to the much more intimate violation of drug testing, especially since it confers zero productivity or safety benefit on employers, can and has been abused to punish workers and/or screen for protected conditions, and actually does the opposite of what it is claimed to do by increasing hard drug use in the workplace?

    ATTENTION ALL NORTHEASTERN OHIO READERS: NORML just started meetings for the Akron/Kent area,Feb 22 at 1:30 pm at the Kent Free Library, and if I can get the day off, I’m gonna be there! So fantastic, they’re opening two new chapters (Akron/Kent and Cleveland) where the only chapter I’ve known of for years has been in Columbus, making us NE Ohioans pretty screwed in our ability to get involved. I hope any NORML readers from this area are going to attend!

  25. It`s about time to remove Marijuana from Schedule I or II classification. medical evidence showed back in 1976 that pot will help you from going blind. just look on the web for life story on Robert C Randall.NO ONE HAS EVER DIED FROM MARIJUANA IN THE LAST 500 YEARS. YOU CANT SAY THAT FOR BEER AR CIG,

  26. Senator Michael Young should be ashamed of his under handed tactics. Young is chairman of the committee on corrections and criminal law. In dealing with Senate Bill 314, that sought to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. It was introduced the ninth of January by senator Tallian(D) of Portage, Indiana. The bill was later recommended to the committee on corrections and criminal law.( https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2014/bills/senate/314/#)When asked why the comittee had not scheduled the issue for a hearing one of Youngs staffers replied it had not been filed in time. When asked her opinion on why the bill had not been reviewed Tallian responded that she had spoken with Young last summer, November, and December about conducting a hearing for the bill.( http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/porter/25357805-418/marijuana-bills-chances-go-up-in-smoke.http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/porter/25357805-418/marijuana-bills-chances-go-up-in-smoke.htmlhtml) I urge all people to contact Senator young and tell him exactly what you think of his sheepish and immature approach to a real problem that plagues our society.

  27. This is beyond ridiculous and they know it. Any anti-marijuana argument I have heard is based on gross generalizations and fake “research.” “Gateway drug” pfft…alcohol, or better yet Tylenol. By this logic Kindergarten is the “gateway” to failure because I went to kindergarten before I failed a class in middle school. Dammit schools and teachers…should have just stayed at home.

  28. I totally agree and applaud the congress people for sending this letter. Hopefully he will have the guts to do the right thing and remove cannabis from schedule 1 classification. Considering how much he supposedly cares about everyone being healthy and having insurance well this should be a no brainer because it has been studied since the 70s in Israel to be not only anti cancer but having many benefits, such as pain relief for example.

  29. Sorry, off-topic again, I took that quiz mentioned below, on the Christian Science Monitor website, it should be labeled “How much do you know about MJ LAW?” Only 2 or 3 questions were actually about marijuana itself. I got 60% right.

  30. What’s now becoming clear is that AG Holder and President Obama have forced an untenable situation on Congress to address. Changing the schedule won’t fix the problem in the long run because it’s subject to the next president/AG whim. By deferring the issue to Congress while tacitly allowing legalization to proceed in states where legal, we have a growing number of attempts by cartels and gangs to insert themselves under the radar, taking advantage of legal status in one state to ship to illegal states where profits soar, with far fewer losses to LE as opposed to their tunnels and trucks trying to cross the border.

    It’s a brilliant idea that forces Congress to address the situation whether they want to or not. And it must be done, because state after state is addressing reform, and now even legislatures are genuinely considering legalization.

    In the last analysis, the only solution that will work is to seize the entire market and place it in the hands of responsible citizens. It’s time for Congress to finally own up to the reality that their warring has been an abject failure, and that all along they were trying to seize the wrong thing. It’s really that simple.

  31. Big Steel is going to keep it illegal a long as they can, no flying cars anytime soon, Ford’s car may never get off the ground.

  32. @Anony

    I got 60%

    Thing is, most of those questions pertain to the crap excuse of medical marijuana states– basically knowing the facts of states that have legalized MedMJ.

  33. @Jimmy Potseed

    People may have spoken, but the corrupt government will drag out every excuse in the book to postpone the legalization of it in every manner. I want it dearly to become legalized as well, but I have no trust in this government to ever see hope. I also live in AZ which is claimed to be one of the next states to purpose legalization, but again I don’t see it happening for at least another 8 years or so.

  34. I posted this question to Mr Humble who runs the Arizona Medical Marijuana program here but apparently my comments are not valid enough for his response. Also Arizona’s top supposed Marijuana Lawyer Jeff Kaufman seems to be only interested in making money off us not truly supporting us. So there needs to be some clarification concerning the rights of Medical Marijuana card holders pertaining to being denied and discriminated against being hired due to testing positive for THC. There seems to be a fine line here. It has been determined that Marijuana is a medicine for legal card holders. Being a medicine should mean it is no different than ANY other prescribed controlled substance. With that said new hepa privacy laws challenge whether “legal” card holders should be tested at all by employers. I have been denied employment now 8 times in a year and am being forced out of the work force due to employers STILL discriminating against my choice in pain management. So now I have to apply for food stamps, housing, etc. when I am perfectly able to work. I would never use a drug that would impair me at work marijuana included. I take pride in my job and I should be respected to properly medicate only when at home and do not operate a vehicle while using any drug that may impair.me. Under NO circumstances should ANY employer deny or discriminate against hiring ANYONE for medical Marijuana use. What is being done to stop this from happening? I respect Mr. Humble and appreciate all he has done with this program. However this issue needs to be addressed ASAP as the number of people being denied employment is growing. And so is the tax payers money going toward supporting us now that we can not be hired. Thank you so much for your time here. Please help get us back to work Mr.Humble 🙂

  35. I disagree about the drug cartels, even though its not legal though excepted as medical in many states, we buy mostly now from area growers and also grow ourselves, legalizing will push the cartel out of business here in the states, most of Mexico’s pot is cheap crap. I certainly would rather buy from our own dispensaries where it is grown and controlled and much much better pot. Long run we can end the supply and demand coming from the cartels. Really a no brainer

  36. Legalize “marihuana”? Reschedule “marihuana”? Congress invented the definition of
    “marihuana”. They act like that definition is sacred. “Please Mr. President, reschedule marihuana”. They should stop putting people in jail for using unsmoked cannabis by first changing the definition to this scientifically provable form:

    (16) The term “marijuana” means all parts
    of the smoke produced by the combustion
    of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

    from this purely political form:

    (16) The term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L.,
    whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part
    of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture,
    or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does not include
    the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake
    made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt,
    derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin
    extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such
    plant which is incapable of germination.

    It doesn’t mention THC, or any particular type of cannabis. Cannabis sativa L. is all types of cannabis. It is a terrible definition. When the definition makes sense, then they can reschedule “marijuana”, and teach the children to not smoke cannabis.

    This year, We the People must tell our Congressional members to change that
    definition, so that our States can regain the right to regulate cannabis, and cannabis entrepreneurs can freely access banking services.

  37. As Johnny Hart said in his comic strip “{BC) The prefix (PRO) means for something. The prefix (CON) is against something. Therefore CONgress is against PROgress. The word itself explains why congress is a do nothing organization.

  38. In what appears to be yet another reason to support the *federal* acceptance of cannabis, the American Bankers Association speaks out. In today’s Providence Journal newspaper (Rhode Island’s widely accepted newspaper publication) American Bankers Association stated “possession or distribution of marijuana violates federal law and banks that provide support for those activities face the risk of prosecution and assorted sanctions. The group further adds banks will only be “comfortable serving marijuana businesses if federal prohibitions on the drug are changed in law.” Apparently some degree of banking establishments in Colorado and Washington are still not comfortable working with dispensaries as they (the banks) will be held responsible for filing suspicious activity reports. This hesitance seems to persist even after federal reassurance has been granted to the banks. Coincidentally, adjacent to this article in the “ProJo” is another article on the crackdown of “synthetic pot.” Ultimately 7 people were charged in a raid of “bath salts” known to cause “people to become violent or delirious, and can also cause high blood pressure, vomiting and a number of health complications” with this schedule 1 drug. This simply adds to the myriad of reasons why complete removal of cannabis from the *federal* schedule needs to be done now! Thank you to the Congress members seeking to do so.

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