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Tennessee Congressman Urges Drug Czar To Reclassify Marijuana


Steven CohenBy Eric W. Dolan

Tennessee Congressman Steven Cohen (D) urged Gil Kerlikowske, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule V substance in a letter sent Monday.

Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug under the federal Control Substances Act. Schedule I is the most restrictive classification, reserved drugs with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medicinal value.

“Marijuana does not belong on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) alongside such hard drugs as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine,” Cohen said. “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.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration denied a nine-year-old petition to initiate proceedings to reschedule marijuana in late June, claiming that, “marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision.”

The use of medical marijuana has been legalized in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

“I also urge you to consider the cost to law enforcement incurred by pursuing non-violent drug offenders,” Cohen continued. “For example, some estimates place the total criminal justice costs of marijuana arrests for state and local governments at as much as $7.6 billion per year.

“With more than 850,000 people arrested for a marijuana violation in 2009, we are spending nearly $10,000 per arrest, which is a huge waste of scarce resources.”

Despite the large sums of money being spend on the war on drugs, reports have found that illicit drug use is increasing and drug cartels have rapidly expanded within the U.S.

Rep. Steve Cohen’s full letter can be read here.

Article From Rawstory.com


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  1. I appreciate the thought, but this guy needs to do a little homework. Cocaine and amphetamine are not schedule 1 substances, and the Drug Czar does not make policy. He might as well sent this letter to his plumber for all the good it will do going to the Czar.

  2. Tell your Congressional Representatives –
    It is time to “Change the Schedule of Cannabis, Cannabis Laws, and Drug Czar Laws”
    Read and Sign the petition at


    After you sign the petition, email your friendlies, share on facebook, or twitter from the petition page. If you have a website grab the widget so your visitors can sign it without leaving your website.

    This petition uses laws passed by Congress to point out that by their laws, the laws must change.
    If you haven’t asked your representative and senator to support policy change, what are you waiting for? Sign the petition send an email.

  3. I really wish the media would also include information about how the “Drug Czar” is REQUIRED BY LAW TO OPPOSE ANY LEGALIZATION EFFORTS!!!

    The letter seems mute when one takes into consideration the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1986 H11225’s Responsibility #12 which basically says that the Drug Czar is required by Congressional mandate to OPPOSE any legalization efforts of ANY schedule 1 substance (including cannabis) for Any purpose (including medical).

    It seems Congressman Cohen’s efforts would be better spent drafting legislation that would require the Drug Czar and his office to base their info off of science and facts instead of politics and lies. It seems pointless to send a letter asking someone to do something that goes against their Congressionally mandated responsibilities.

    This link explains this better: http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/drug-czar-required/

  4. that is just fantastic news…thankyou for this.
    I do not agree with the abuse ‘theory’, but the
    law lets people abuse alcohol all the time, they
    dont control that so why control cannabis ?!

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