Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) is urging Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderDylann Roof’s 'show trial' exhibits Justice Department at its worst Sessions AG pick missed chance to remove partisanship from Justice Commutation of unfair sentences, an issue of human rights MORE to reclassify marijuana as a drug that has medical benefits.
Cohen suggested in a letter to Holder this week that the attorney general move marijuana to a new "schedule" of classification so that it is no longer considered one of the most dangerous drugs with no accepted medical use.
Holder said at a National Press Club luncheon this week that "there is, I think, a legitimate debate to be had on both sides of that question on where marijuana should be in terms of scheduling."
Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which is considered the most harmful of the five categories.
Cohen noted that even cocaine, which is highly addictive and has no medical uses, isn't in the same category as marijuana.
"Classifying marijuana as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act perpetuates an unjust and irrational system. Not even cocaine or methamphetamine are Schedule I substances. Moreover, President Obama has stated that he does not believe marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol," Cohen wrote.
The Tennessee Democrat argued that a three-year-old constituent, Chloe Grauer, who recently died from a rare neurological disease, could have benefitted from access to cannabidiol (CBD), which is a compound in marijuana. CBD contains a small amount of THC, the ingredient in marijuana that causes people to get high. However, CBD does not contain enough THC to produce highs.
"Even this tiny amount of THC was enough for the federal government to keep a potentially life-saving drug away from Chloe," Cohen wrote.