With recreational marijuana legal in Colorado and Washington and with 20 other States recognizing medical benefits associated with the drug, a House Democrat is seeking Congressional support in urging the Justice Department to cross pot off of the government’s list of most dangerous drugs.
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder said his agency was already taking steps to ease Federal banking regulations for legitimate businesses in what could become the Nation’s other green industry in States where pot is legal.
“You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places. They want to be able to use the banking system,” Holder said. “There’s a public safety component to this.”
A State tax task force in Colorado asked Justice to change Federal banking and tax regulations as marijuana became legal in the State, noting: “Since marijuana is a controlled substance under federal law, banks must either refuse to hold accounts for legal marijuana businesses in Colorado or risk prosecution.”
Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is suggesting that the Federal government should go a step further and remove marijuana from the Federal list of “Schedule I” drugs.
The lawmaker contends that the Barack Obama Administration was already “unquestionably making the right call” by changing the banking regulations that shut out pot-related businesses.
“It’s an important step toward fixing federal policy toward marijuana,” Blumenauer said Friday in a written statement. “The next step is removing marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.”
The lawmaker is currently collecting signatures in Congress in an effort to petition Obama to remove pot from the list, and there’s a good chance that the President will act.
Last week, marijuana prohibition activists attacked the President for opining that the drug may not be more dangerous than alcohol in remarks to The New Yorker.
“As has been well documented,” Obama said, “I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”