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Marijuana Advocates Light Up At White House

Note: The President, through the Attorney General, has the power to reschedule marijuana. Marijuana is currently in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the most restrictive schedule. This is reserved for drugs with a “high potential for abuse” and “no accepted medical use within the United States.” It is obvious that marijuana fits neither of these categories.

In the 80s I was a lawyer who litigated against the DEA to have marijuana rescheduled. It was a three year process after we finally got them into court (which took about 15 years). The administrative law judge for the DEA ruled completely in our favor but the administrator of the DEA (appointed by the president — Bush the 1st) refused to follow his ruling. Here is the decision by Judge Francis L. Young. We sued three times in the US Court of Appeals to reverse him — won the first two where the court ordered the DEA to reconsider, lost the third when the Court just seemed to give up trying to get the DEA to do the right thing.


Two dozen states have legalized medical marijuana, thousands of doctors and hundreds of thousands of patients use cannabis as a medicine every day and research has shown for decades that it is an effective medicine especially in the treatment of controlling nausea from chemo and radiation therapy, reducing the eye pressure of many glaucoma patients, limiting muscle spasm’s from various illnesses as well as for reducing pain from many causes. Even the federal government admits that there has never been an overdose from the use of marijuana. Judge Young ruled that “marijuana is the safest therapeutically active drug known to man.” In reality, marijuana has a low potential for abuse and important medical uses.

The law should reflect reality. Obama should take action on this before he leaves office. Marijuana should be in Schedule III or lower or completely de-scheduled. KZ

Activists Call on Obama to De-Schedule Cannabis and Do More to End Marijuana Prohibition

Hundreds of marijuana activists held a “smoke-in” civil disobedience protest outside the White House on Saturday. The action drew a spectrum of advocacy groups calling on the Obama administration to legalize cannabis by descheduling it under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). (Marijuana is currently scheduled in Schedule I of the CSA, the most restrictive schedule reserved for the most dangerous drugs that have high risks and no medical uses.) They called for access to Cannabis for medicinal purposes and putting a stop to the War on Drugs.

Secret Service were deployed in force and blocked 35 activists who tried to carry a 51 foot inflated “joint” onto Pennsylvania Ave. But protesters outwitted police by deflating the prop, taking it to the restricted area adjacent to the White House and re-inflating it. Secret Service looked on in consternation.

A host of advocates spoke for two hours arguing for country wide legalization. Then at 4:20 pm, a time to coincide with the 420 designation for the restriction of the drug, several 100 simultaneously smoked or consumed Cannabis. Only two were cited and ticketed by police for “public consumption” and will have to appear in DC Superior Court. However, there were no arrests.

Lauren Dove and Walter Kendrick were given citations for "public consumption"/Photo by John Zangas
Lauren Dove and Walter Kendrick were given citations for “public consumption”/Photo by John Zangas

Lauren Dove and Walter Kendrick were cited for “public consumption” not arrested. Dove said that she felt the citation was “fair because I was being flagrant” and it was justified. But she also believes it is time to abolish drug laws making Canabis illegal. “I think it’s great the progress that we’ve made so far but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” she said.

Activists spoke about key issues involving Cannabis, including making the drug legally accessible for medical purposes, ending the incarceration of those who possess or use it, and stopping the War on Drugs by descheduling Cannabis from a list of restricted chemical intoxicants.

“We’re out here to let the federal government and the president know that the policies that have been in place for the past 40 years have been targeted and destructive,” said Kim Brown, a concerned citizen who hosts an Internet radio show. Brown said that drug arrests and prosecutions against Blacks are four times as high as that for Whites.

26198375035_67484363ed_zBrown also expressed frustration with incarceration rates for Blacks.

A detailed study by the ACLU showed Blacks are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated for marijuana use in every county of Maryland. The report showed an increase by 5,614 Blacks arrested as compared to Whites with only 371 arrests. The report showed disparities in Maryland from 2001 to 2010.

Sharyn Bovat, an analyst and researcher at Voice of A Moderate, said that veterans would benefit from Cannabis legalization. “This is an issue that’s important to our veterans,” she said. “They have PTSD and data suggests SSRIs are a leading cause of Alzheimer’s.” SSRI’s or anti-depressants, often used to treat PTSD are often prescribed to veterans suffering from combat related disorders.

“Our vets deserve an organic solution and that is marijuana,” said Bovat.

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