Washington, DC: Representative Steven Cohen (D-TN) is urging the Obama administration to reclassify cannabis under federal law and to acknowledge its therapeutic utility, according to a September 12 letter sent by the Congressman to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
States Rep. Cohen in his letter to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske: "Marijuana does not belong on schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) alongside hard drugs as ... heroin. There is no evidence that marijuana has the same addictive qualities or damaging consequences as these harder drugs and it should not be treated as such. Similarly, the so-called 'gateway drug' theory has been thoroughly discredited with respect to marijuana. Marijuana ought to be placed at the lowest end of the CSA in accordance with its true risks."
Under federal law, all substances classified as Schedule I drugs under the CSA must possess a 'high potential for abuse' and have 'no accepted medical use in treatment.'
Representative Cohen adds: "I was particularly disappointed that the [ONDCP] dismissed the medical benefits of marijuana. ... We should not deny the thousands of Americans who rely of marijuana ... the benefits that [it] 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."