Hoping Obama will change federal pot policy? Too bad
By Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post | Shared by thecannabist.co
WASHINGTON – Marijuana advocates hoping for a substantial shift in federal marijuana policy in the last year of the Obama administration are likely to be disappointed.
At Friday’s press briefing, White House press secretary John Earnest said any progress on marijuana reform would need to come through Congress. President Barack Obama had signaled his position a day earlier at the House Democratic retreat in Baltimore, saying marijuana reform is not on his list of end-of-term priorities, according to Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.
Cohen said he asked the president whether he wanted to “reschedule” marijuana. The federal government currently considers marijuana a Schedule I controlled substance, “the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence.” Many lawmakers want to see it moved to Schedule 2, which acknowledges the plant’s medical potential. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances altogether.
But Obama’s answer on the rescheduling was “disappointing,” Cohen said in an interview. “On marijuana, he gave the same answer as when I asked him seven years ago: ‘If you get me a bill, and get it on my desk, I’ll probablysign it,’” Cohen said (emphasis his).
At the briefing, Earnest clarified further. “There are some in the Democratic Party who have urged the president to take this kind of action. The president’s response was, ‘If you feel so strongly about it, and you believe there is so much public support for what it is that you’re advocating, then why don’t you pass legislation about it and we’ll see what happens.’”
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