Dear Mr. President:
At the State of the Union, on January 28, 2014, you said:
So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do.Numerous times since you became President, you have said you were open to other people’s ideas and proposals. So, Mr. President, I’m going to put you to the test. Are you a man of integrity, a man of his word? Or are you just another freaking politician?
State of the Union 2014
You have said twice now just this past month, that a) you do not believe that marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol and that b) you believe it to be a public health issue and not a criminal issue. I applaud you for having the balls to say this. Recent Past Presidents who have also smoked pot have not been so forthright.
But then you turn around and say there is nothing you can do about it. You said it was for Congress to decide. Then you indicated it was a decision for the Attorney General. Well, Mr. President, I’m here to inform you that you are WRONG on both accounts!
Now I could wonder how a man who has pledged to defend and protect the laws of the land as well as an esteemed attorney could be so wrong. Because when you make erroneous statements like that, it really makes a person wonder. Are you just trying to push it off on other people as an excuse not to do anything about it yourself? And it really makes you look bad because it makes you look ignorant. It makes you look like the crazy people on the right who deny today’s science in favor of their own erroneous beliefs. But I will give you the benefit of the doubt, if you will give serious consideration of the following.
Here is the LEGAL definition of a Level One Controlled substance according to the law:
Schedule I Controlled SubstancesPlease note that the legal qualifications UNDER THE LAW states that these substances have no currently accepted medical use in the United States and lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
Substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.
Some examples of substances listed in Schedule I are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), peyote, methaqualone, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("Ecstasy").
Well according to over 20 states within the United States, marijuana does have an accepted medical use and is safe to use under medical supervision.
And sir, there is no proven evidence that there is a high potential for abuse. If your administration has evidence of this, perhaps they should bring it out and see if it stands up to scrutiny of the medical and scientific community. They won’t because they have no evidence to substantiate this because it is a false conclusion.
So, Mr. President, UNDER THE LAW, marijuana no longer qualifies as a Level One controlled substance.
In fact sir, under the law that defines what a makes a Controlled Substance it states:
Drugs and other substances that are considered controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) are divided into five schedules. An updated and complete list of the schedules is published annually in Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) §§ 1308.11 through 1308.15. Substances are placed in their respective schedules based on whether they have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, their relative abuse potential, and likelihood of causing dependence when abused.Since you, yourself, have stated that Marijuana is not more dangerous than alcohol which is a legal substance, then unless there is significant and substantial evidence that the rest of the world doesn’t know about, you sir, have an obligation to enforce the law, which means taking action to remove marijuana from a list upon which it clearly does not belong and which the current scientific evidence supports removing.
So, now we come to your mistake. According to the law, Congress has nothing to do with it. In order for Congress to act, they would have to change the provision on rescheduling substances to give themselves power to do so. This was deliberate when the law was composed so that politics instead of science would not enter into the scheduling. What a joke that turned out to be!
Additionally, the Attorney General has nothing to do with reclassification either. The Attorney General’s role is to enforce and defend the laws, not make them.
I have to wonder sir if you have ever read the law? I realize it is a lengthy and boring legal document (which I have read, BTW). No one would blame you if you haven’t read it. You didn’t make it or vote on it. You were just a little boy in 1971 when Tricky Dick Nixon, paranoid that he was, made sure the Executive Branch had the power of rescheduling.
Here is the best overall synopsis I can find on reclassification/rescheduling of a Controlled Substance that is clear and easy for everyone to understand:
Proceedings to add, delete, or change the schedule of a drug or other substance may be initiated by the DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or by petition from any interested party, including the manufacturer of a drug, a medical society or association, a pharmacy association, a public interest group concerned with drug abuse, a state or local government agency, or an individual citizen. When a petition is received by the DEA, the agency begins its own investigation of the drug.
The DEA also may begin an investigation of a drug at any time based upon information received from laboratories, state and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies, or other sources of information. Once the DEA has collected the necessary data, the Deputy Administrator of DEA, requests from HHS a scientific and medical evaluation and recommendation as to whether the drug or other substance should be controlled or removed from control. This request is sent to the Assistant Secretary of Health of HHS. Then, HHS solicits information from the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and evaluations and recommendations from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and, on occasion, from the scientific and medical community at large. The Assistant Secretary, by authority of the Secretary, compiles the information and transmits back to the DEA a medical and scientific evaluation regarding the drug or other substance, a recommendation as to whether the drug should be controlled, and in what schedule it should be placed.
The medical and scientific evaluations are binding to the DEA with respect to scientific and medical matters. The recommendation on scheduling is binding only to the extent that if HHS recommends that the substance not be controlled, the DEA may not control the substance. Once the DEA has received the scientific and medical evaluation from HHS, the DEA Administrator will evaluate all available data and make a final decision whether to propose that a drug or other substance be controlled and into which schedule it should be placed. Under certain circumstances, the Government may temporarily schedule a drug without following the normal procedure. An example is when international treaties require control of a substance. In addition, 21 U.S.C. § 811(h) allows the Attorney General to temporarily place a substance in Schedule I "to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety". Thirty days' notice is required before the order can be issued, and the scheduling expires after a year; however, the period may be extended six months if rulemaking proceedings to permanently schedule the drug are in progress. In any case, once these proceedings are complete, the temporary order is automatically vacated. Unlike ordinary scheduling proceedings, such temporary orders are not subject to judicial review.
Please note sir, that the Department of HHS, not the DEA, not the Congress, not the Office of Drug Abuse or the FDA, has the responsibility of making the recommendation on whether or not a substance should be scheduled. I have highlighted and underlined it for you. This is the part I especially want you to be clear on:
The recommendation on scheduling is binding only to the extent that if HHS recommends that the substance not be controlled, the DEA may not control the substance.So Mr. President, you do, in fact, have the power to change people’s lives if you are a man of your word. Because you have the power to issue an executive order to the department of HHS stating that “it has been brought to your attention, that according to the definition under the law, marijuana no longer qualifies as either a Level 1 controlled substance or any controlled substance for that matter, and that an immediate written recommendation should be sent to the DEA ordering its removal from the Controlled Substance list. “
That’s all it would take sir.
Then Congress could act to regulate and tax it. This would provide new tax revenue which would be very helpful towards paying off our debt. This would provide a new industry that would provide new jobs. This would stop the practice of ruining people’s lives for possession of a substance no more dangerous than the beer and wine millions of Americans drink every day. This would free up law enforcement to address more serious and dangerous issues than marijuana.
This is also important, sir, because there are issues that must be addressed since 2 states have defied the Federal government’s out of date classification and by demand of its citizens, made marijuana legal. Two Democratic states I might add that voted for you. Now we have interstate transportation issues, banking issues, IRS issues, to name just a few that cannot just go ignored and unaddressed by this administration in relation to these state’s actions. To do so, sir, would be just not doing what American people voted you to do.
You have smoked marijuana. It didn’t stop you from becoming POTUS. You were lucky you didn’t get busted for doing so because you might not be POTUS if you had. Both POTUS Clinton and GW Bush smoked pot and it didn’t stop them from becoming useful productive members of society. So why is it, people can still lose their home, their job and their children for being arrested with an ounce or less of pot in states that are just following the lead of the Federal Government.
My father, a conservative Republican from Mississippi, used a cannabis balm to treat his asthmatic reaction to hay back in the early 1930’s. As old and as conservative as he was when he died, even he believed that it was wrong to keep punishing people for pot. When the generation that made it illegal in the first place, says they were wrong to do so, then perhaps it is OK for a modern day POTUS to right that wrong.
POTUS Richard Nixon’s justifications for making marijuana a Level 1 Controlled substance were there was not enough evidence on long term dangers. Since then the government has been trying to come up with evidence to substantiate that decision. We have spent billions maybe trillions of dollars on research at institutions like the Government backed pot farm at the University of Mississippi to prove that pot deserved to be a Level 1 Controlled Substance.
But after 43 years, instead of proving it, they have proven that it does have acceptable medical uses within the United States and can be safely administered and is not dangerous or have a high level of abuse. In fact, the U.S government legally provides marijuana to citizens of the United States for medical reasons. REALLY!!!!?
So my question to you sir is, if marijuana has no accepted medical value and cannot be safely administered by doctors, why is our government providing it as medicine? Certainly marijuana is not any more dangerous than legal items like cigarettes, beer, wine, soft drinks, sugar candy, and a long list of other legal products that are bad, even dangerous for your health. No one has ever died from an overdose of pot. Can we say that from beer, wine or alcohol? Can we say that about cigarettes?
So I challenge you Mr. President to be a man of your word, a leader and a man of integrity. I voted for you twice. I expect you to do the right thing just as you did when you stood up for gay rights under the law. I expect you to do what’s best for the country like you did when you fought for the ACA. I expect you to do what is right according to the law of the USA.
If you don’t, then you’re just another politician whose words are empty. Your effectualness as our POTUS will be diminished and your approval rating will continue to decline. You will be hurting your party and you will not be listening to the will of the people. Because sir over 60% of the people in this country supports removing marijuana from the controlled substance list, taxing it and using the money to pay off our debt. To them, you would be a hero for doing what is just and right for America.
A petition to remove marijuana from the controlled substance list has been started at Whitehouse.gov on this subject. Once we get the 100,000 needed signatures you will be forced to respond. My prayers are that your response is the one that is right for people of America and not one made from the ignorance and fear of the past. The War on Drugs has been a HUGE FAILURE AND A HUGE WASTE OF THIS COUNTRY’S RESOURCES. A WAR WE CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO CONTINUE!
As someone who has smoked pot for 43 years, who has raised a family, successfully run a small business, never been arrested for anything, and a faithful Democratic voter, I’m frankly tired of being labeled with negative adjectives just because I would rather smoke a joint in the privacy of my home than get drunk.