Shockingly, the current Congress of the United States has offered an official response to President Barak Obama’s recent interview with David Remnick in the January 27, 2014 issue of the New Yorker (See our article entitled “President Obama for Marijuana Legalization?“), and it’s not what anyone may have expected!

In short, the Letter from Congress to Reclassify Marijuana, in no uncertain terms, urges President Obama to immediately reclassify marijuana, stating; “Classifying marijuana as Schedule I at the Federal level perpetuates an unjust and irrational system.”

Let me repeat that; Congress, the very Congress who, for 80 years, has not only “perpetuated an unjust and irrational system” that they’ve personally funded and have convicted millions of Americans because of, destroying countless lives over, have finally admitted what most of us knew in our hearts already; marijuana is vastly safer than alcohol and tobacco, and absolutely does not deserve the “Schedule I” it currently resides in.

Would you believe that over 700,000 people are arrested for marijuana possession each year?  It’s true.  Accompanying those arrests is billions of dollars spent by various agencies including the Federal government, state governments, national and local law enforcement agencies to enforce those marijuana laws.  And, as President Obama pointed out, those laws are disproportionately applied to minorities.

It’s been unfair since the beginning of the War On Drugs, and I will forever remain convinced that the sheer irrationality of the War on Drugs is the clearest evidence that the Federal government knew that the War on Drugs was completely irrational, as has been Marijuana Prohibition.  But it was a cash cow for the government for decades, so why would they ever want to change it, despite the millions of lives that have been destroyed as a result of these unjust laws.

So, why might this 180 degree turnaround so suddenly have occurred?  This move seems as irrational as the original Marijuana Prohibition in the 1930’s, but I am quite convinced I’m reading between the lines correctly:  The Federal government is losing control of Marijuana Prohibition to individual states.  That means that if the Federal government doesn’t immediately change their stance on marijuana, they stand to lose billions of dollars in revenue to the individual states.

There’s no way a business the size of the Federal government would allow that much money to slip through their collective fingers.

Also, what I find far-too-curious to ignore, is how this letter makes it sound as though it was Congresses idea to enact this change, as if it’s been President Obama who has personally been preventing the reclassification of marijuana all this time.  I applaud our members of Congress to have the courage to finally admit when they’ve been wrong, but it’s disappointing to see them trying to take credit for a movement that amounts to a change in public opinion.

Not only do a majority of Americans now believe that marijuana should be legalized (See “56% Favor Legalizing” for details), it’s become quite clear that Americans will also vote according to that majority as well.  In history-changing events last year, both Washington State and Colorado voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  Yes, that means not only will marijuana be criminalized, it will be available alongside tobacco and alcohol. As of this writing, 21 states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and 2 states have legalized it for recreational use.  I like the Interactive Marijuana Map the best for keeping up-to-date on the state of affairs.

Furthermore, on the first day of marijuana sales in Colorado, sales were so swift that millions of dollars were brought into the state’s economy in a single day, and the state’s supply of marijuana was depleted.  Now that is a voice far too powerful for the Federal government to ignore.  And, it also quietly makes every single representative in our Congress who has demonized marijuana all these years, a hypocrite who may have willingly and irrationally destroyed millions of people’s lives over a lie they knew to be a lie.

Think about it; nothing about marijuana has changed except the fact that the truth is finally being told in regards to it.  It’s not that the irrational laws governing the prohibition of Cannabis were justified in the past and new evidence has finally revealed the truth so government attitudes are changing.  Nothing has changed regarding marijuana other than the fact that the Federal government has decided to change their stance.  I believe it’s in an effort to get their piece of the soon-to-be-booming marijuana industry that has already proven to be a cash cow for anyone involved with it.

Personally, I think it’s about time that history has changed its irrational stance on marijuana, and even if it is money driving this current landslide towards legalization.  The end result is the same; millions of Americans will be validated, the sheer irrationality of Marijuana Prohibition will finally come to light, so many hundreds of thousands of lives that have been destroyed by marijuana convictions, can finally begin to be rebuilt, and so many billions of dollars in wasted resources can finally go towards constructive causes on both a state and a Federal level.

In fact, although I do not imbibe in Cannabis, I look forward to a world where marijuana is legal for recreational use.  But I look even more forward to the landslide of medical research that will now come to light as a result of marijuana being removed from Schedule I.  Marijuana has clinically-proven positive medical benefits from everything to helping with alcohol addiction, to helping cancer patients, and so much more.  Without question, it has already proven to be a powerful weapon against pain and disease and its incredible to be alive in the generation where marijuana is legalized for medical use nationwide, and possibly legalized for recreational use nationwide as well.

Whatever the reason, now that the Federal government has finally decided to start telling the truth regarding marijuana, I urge every one reading this article to re-examine their stances on marijuana if you’ve been opposed to its legalization for medical purposes.  Look to the facts, read the evidence, and know that, consciously or not, you’ve been lied to all these years.  More importantly, though, when marijuana legalization for recreational use comes rolling into your state (and I predict now that marijuana will be legalized nationwide before 2020, at least for medical purposes), fear not and light up.

Keith Edley

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Manually transcribed text of the letter:

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

February 12, 2014

Dear Mr. President:

We were encouraged by your recent comments in your interview with David Remnick in the Ianuary 27, 2014 issue of the New Yorker, about the shifting public opinion on the legalization of marijuana. We request that you take action to help alleviate the harms to society caused by the federal Schedule l classification of marijuana.  Lives and resources are wasted on enforcing harsh, unrealistic, and unfair marijuana laws. Nearly two-thirds of a million people every year are arrested for marijuana possession. We spend billions every year enforcing marijuana laws, which disproportionately impact minorities. According to the ACLU, black Americans are nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite comparable marijuana usage rates.

You said that you don’t believe marijuana is any more dangerous than alcohol: a fully legalized substance, and believe it to be less dangerous “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.” This is true. Marijuana, however, remains listed in the federal Controlled Substances Act at Schedule I, the strictest classification, along with heroin and LSD. This is a higher listing than cocaine and methamphetamine, Schedule ll substances that you gave as examples of harder drugs. This makes no sense.

Classifying marijuana as Schedule I at the federal level perpetuates an unjust and irrational system. Schedule I recognizes no medical use, disregarding both medical evidence and the laws ofnearly halfof the states that have legalized medical marijuana. A Schedule l or ll classification also means that marijuana businesses in states where adult or medical use are legal cannot deduct business expenses from their taxes or take tax credits due to Section 280E of the federal tax code.

We request that you instruct Attorney General Holder to delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate way, at the very least eliminating it from Schedule I or ll. Furthermore, one would hope that that your Administration officials publicly reflect your views on this matter. Statements such as the one from DEA chief of operations James L. Capra that the legalization of marijuana at the state level is “reckless and irresponsible” serve no purposes other than to inflame passions and misinform the public.

Thank you for your continued thoughtfulness about this important issue.  We believe that the current system wastes resources and destroys lives, in turn damaging families and communities. Taking action on this issue is long overdue.