Pot Legalization Inches Closer to Reality

On April 4, US Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Obama administration is willing to work with Congress to remove marijuana from the federal government’s list of the most dangerous substances.

Image courtesy of Office of the Director of National Intelligence, NCPC/Wikimedia Commons.

Image courtesy of Office of the Director of National Intelligence, NCPC/Wikimedia Commons.

The administration has been moving in a more liberal direction regarding marijuana decriminalization and legalization. Under the Controlled Substances Act, Holder reserves the power to “remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in the schedule.”

The attorney general claims that he will not use this power and would rather work side by side with Congress for an appropriate solution.

This announcement comes shortly after Obama stated in January that he believed pot to be no more dangerous than alcohol. Following that, a formal letter to the president from 18 congressmen demonstrated a desire to reexamine how the federal government views marijuana.

2010 UK study shows which drugs cause the most harm. Image courtesy of user:Tesseract2/Wikimedia Commons.

2010 UK study shows which drugs cause the most harm.
Image courtesy of user:Tesseract2/Wikimedia Commons.

Strong opposition to these potential changes remains, however. Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart said that she has been encouraged to “fight harder” against the growing acceptance of pot in America.

Marijuana is currently labeled as a Schedule I drug by the DEA, which indicates that it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” and may lead to “potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”

Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD and ecstasy – substances that may well be more dangerous than pot.

If marijuana is rescheduled, it would certainly be a victory for proponents of the drug. Many political opponents of pot have cited the drug’s current DEA classification as a their main concern, but, if taken off that list, marijuana could become an ever-more accepted presence in America.

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Katie Tu