DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Lawmakers across the country are turning to relaxed marijuana laws as a winning issue ahead of 2014.
A bi-partisan group of House members sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday morning requesting a change in federal marijuana policy. Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon led the group of 17 Democrats plus California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the drafting of the letter, asking the president to “instruct Attorney General Holder to delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate way.” The lawmakers requested the changes in part so that businesses in states where recreational or medical marijuana is legal can deduct business expenses and receive tax credits.
The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 established the drug classification, or “scheduling,” system which groups drugs into five categories depending on a given substance’s “medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.” The Act places marijuana in the most restrictive schedule alongside heroin and MDMA.
In a recent interview, President Obama addressed marijuana’s classification, saying, “What is and isn’t a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress,” however the language of the act itself grants broad discretion to the attorney general to change drug scheduling.