Congressman Takes Holder To Task On Marijuana Scheduling

Last week U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the DOJ would be willing to work with congress to re-schedule marijuana if they were willing. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) scolded Holder during a House Judiciary Committee meeting Tuesday reminding the attorney general that he already has the authority to ask the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a study of cannabis for the possibility of reclassification.

“In my humble opinion, and I think the majority of the people in this country, there’s no way that marijuana should be Schedule I, because this is not the same class as heroin and LSD, as it is in the code,” Cohen said.
“Schedule I says it has no medical benefit,” Cohen said. “Well, that just fallacious, and the fact that it says a high likelihood of abuse – it’s nothing like heroin, that’s absurd.”

The lawmaker said its classification alongside much harder drugs “breeds contempt for our laws,” and he said there is strong medical evidence in favor of less restrictive laws against marijuana.

Cohen reminded the attorney general that the Obama administration has issued executive orders on minimum wage, environmental, and immigration laws, so why not pot?

“Why won’t the administration act with the pen and the phone to help people out by taking this out of schedule I so it can be studied” Cohen said. “Because I think we’re all in favor of research.”
“Why not initiate the opportunity for the secretary to make the study and base it on science?” he said. “Until you do that, it’s not going to happen.”

But Cohen again said the attorney general had the authority to begin the process of reclassifying marijuana as Schedule I drug – and it wouldn’t cost his office anything.

“That’s all you have to do is request it,” Cohen said. “That doesn’t take away from your limited resources.”

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