A group of lawmakers are pushing President Barack Obama to remove marijuana from its classification as a dangerous narcotic.
The federal government places pot in the same category as heroin and ecstasy as a schedule 1 controlled substance – a drug with high potential for abuse but no accepted medical use.
In a letter, signed on Wednesday by 17 Democrats and one Republican, to the President, lawmakers cite Obama’s recent comments that he sees smoking marijuana as no more dangerous than drinking alcohol.
“As has been well documented, 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,” Obama recently told The New Yorker.
The lawmakers said marijuana’s current classification “makes no sense,” pointing to wasted law enforcement resources under “harsh, unrealistic, and unfair marijuana laws.”
“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 impact on the individual consumer.’ This is true,” the letter says.