I want to give you some advice on reforming the drug laws of this country. You have most likely already been briefed in one way or another about your ability to move drugs from one schedule to another. The relevant code is very specific.
(c) Factors determinative of control or removal from schedules(1) Its actual or relative potential for abuse.
In making any finding under subsection (a) of this section or under subsection (b) ofsection 812 of this title, the Attorney General shall consider the following factors with respect to each drug or other substance proposed to be controlled or removed from the schedules:
(1) Its actual or relative potential for abuse.
(2) Scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known.
(3) The state of current scientific knowledge regarding the drug or other substance.
(4) Its history and current pattern of abuse.
(5) The scope, duration, and significance of abuse.
(6) What, if any, risk there is to the public health.
(7) Its psychic or physiological dependence liability.
(8) Whether the substance is an immediate precursor of a substance already controlled under this subchapter.
When considering how to frame this issue for the public, I would ask you to take into consideration the multiple reasons there are to support reclassification of marijuana to schedule 2. Not only are these reasons numerous, but they are supportable from many different parts of the political spectrum.
1. A reduction in unnecessary criminal justice costs associated with cannabis prohibition- This argument should have broad appeal. If you support social justice, you support this. If you support fiscal responsibility in government, you support this.
The relative immediate and long term harm of cannabis is minor compared when compared to the harm that is done by maintaining criminalization of cannabis. The harm comes in the form of increased cost throughout the various areas of the criminal justice system. Whether in the cost of increased intrusions into your life by the government, or in the cost that comes with trying, sentencing, and incarcerating people who would not be in the position they are in were the relatively harmless drug, marijuana, were allowed for personal use by any adult.
2. Unnecessary intrusion into business that should otherwise be managed at the state level
It seems that Cannabis is treated as having no possible use whatsoever. That's a fine argument, but it doesn't match the facts. However, it's not necessary to even include this as a part of the decision making process. The administration doesn't have to take a position on the medical efficacy of a commonly prescribed herbal treatment for many, many ailments. Maybe some part of it does, but not you directly. Well, I guess. I don't know. What do you want from me? I'm not the president, you are.
3. Broad appeal to populism and a way of being the president who will have ended 3 useless wars during his two terms
Your presidency will be historic for many reasons, but one of the reasons it will have lasting impact is that you will have ended a couple of senseless and poorly thought out wars. That's a great achievement. However, you can also be seen as the president who brought down the final curtain on this act in the play called, "The Culture Wars." That would be seen as a grand achievement, and the right wing might catch on that they don't have to oppose every social progress that comes along. I mean, don't count on it, but it's got its populist appeal.
4. If states can regulate cannabis, they can do a better job of determining how to best keep it out of the hands of the minors in their own states.
I'm sure you're keenly aware that it is easier for a kid to get cannabis than it is for a kid to get alcohol. My kid was suspiciously interested in one particular initiative in Washington State this year, and it wasn't The Charter Schools initiative (I disagree with your support for those schools, btw) It was the legalize marijuana initiative that was passed by the citizens of our state. I think we even have an initiative in the process that will add additional language to the law to make it more difficult for kids to have access.
5. Demonstrate your social progressive cred and your rational pragmatist threads all on one trip down the catwalk.
This is an issue where you can demonstrate to two different constituencies that you are supportive of their main cause. You can appeal to liberals by being seen as a brave and rational social progressive, and you can appeal to the right wing in a way that could moderate their view of you, and see you as more of a rational pragmatist, and not some wild eyed commie who wants to control the actions of each state. In fact, you can even argue that your decision to end this part of the foolish war on drugs is in direct response to the people of multiple states stepping up and defying the federal government. It's only going to gain momentum.
So I want you to know that you have broad ideological support if you choose to make the decision to allow the states to regulate cannabis.
I'm willing to hold it right there for now, but I would like to take some time later on to assess our criminalization of other drugs, and how effective that is. If I had to sum up my message to you on this, I'd say it this way.
"We got this."
otto, and whole bunch of other people