The main obstacle holding back progress ending America's increasingly-silly obsession with cannabis is the Controlled Substances Act. Specifically, it's the politically-motivated, scientifically-unsound classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. According to Congress, cannabis is just as dangerous as heroin and LSD, more dangerous than cocaine and methamphetamine, is highly addictive and has no medical use.
Schedule I drugs are also in a kind of purgatory. They cannot be prescribed or, in most cases, obtained for medical research aside for studies showing what a bad thing they are. Removing marijuana from Schedule I and into Schedule II, where it can be prescribed and have its medical potential widely researched, has been a cause celebre of drug activists for decades, but efforts to convince and then sue federal authorities into rescheduling have failed.
Now, there are more and more U.S. senators backing a bill that would reschedule the drug. Might not President Barack Obama reschedule on his way out of office? He might. According to the activists that worked on the legalization measure that has made recreational marijuana legal for adults in D.C. — the place where you can legally smoke weed in front of the institutions that have outlawed it — the White House is inviting them in for a meeting to talk about just that.
Is a real 420 miracle afoot?
[jump] DCMJ is the group of activists who crafted and won the campaign to convince voters to pass D.C.'s Initiative 71. A few weekends ago, they staged a protest outside of the White House. It was a simple, yet effective affair: they smoked a bunch of weed outside Obama's house, until they received an invitation to come in.
The White House has invited them in to meet on Monday, April 25, to talk about rescheduling.
Marijuana has been Schedule I since 1970, when Richard Nixon's people decided it would be a good way to ostracize hippies and people of color.
Obama has been a bit erratic on weed but mostly hands-off. His Justice Department has waged a half-hearted, selective war on state-legal cannabis that has mostly let up in the wake of more and more states passing recreational legalization measures.
Though he has not taken any action, his attitude has progressed. In 2009, he laughed off the question of legalization. Now, he's respecting state actions… mostly.
“We have long been hopeful that this President would be the one who would rectify this unnecessary injustice,” said Adam Eidinger, the co-founder of DCMJ. “Now, as his presidency approaches its twilight, we’re again optimistic that President Obama will take action. That’s the message we plan to convey to his aides when we meet.”