Last week, Smoke Signals explained how the federal government's classification of cannabis as a very dangerous drug with no medical value has stymied experimental scientific research into the actual benefits and/or dangers of cannabis.
We also explained that President Barack Obama has the legal authority to change this classification – without legalizing cannabis – so that researchers can follow up on interesting preliminary scientific findings indicating, for example, that cannabis may slow or stop the growth of cancer tumors and (unlike tobacco) may not cause lung cancer when smoked.
This is why cannabis and cancer-fighting advocates are practically begging President Obama to take action. Back in 2014, Oregon's Congressman Earl Blumenauer drafted a letter to the President asking him to re-classify cannabis. The letter was also signed by 17 other members of Congress. Last month, former Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder told PBS' Frontline that he also thinks cannabis should be re-classified. This is particularly significant because Holder once held the office that would actually take the action of re-classifying cannabis.
Although the President has said that he thinks cannabis is comparable in dangerousness to alcohol, he has taken no action to reschedule cannabis, and time is running out for the Obama administration. Thus, cannabis advocates are finally starting to get rowdy about the issue. The DC Cannabis Campaign is organizing a rally at the White House scheduled for April 2, (not April 20), to demand that the president re-classify cannabis.
The event is being dubbed the "million stoner march" and will reportedly feature "mass-consumption of cannabis" at 4:20 p.m. in front of the White House. As event organizer Adam Eidinger put it, "We have to take action now, that's the idea. If it's not going to happen under Obama, it's sure as hell not going to happen with Hillary. We're calling on the whole country to come. This is a national mobilization. Some of us may end up in jail, and that's fine. It's actually necessary at this point."
The DC Cannabis Campaign is credited with championing the ballot measure that decriminalized possession and cultivation of small amounts of cannabis in Washington, D.C., in 2014. The group also has also given away cannabis seeds to Washington, D.C., residents, so they can avoid the need to purchase cannabis, which remains illegal.
The protest rally was reportedly inspired by remarks made recently by comedian and celebrity stoner Bill Maher on his HBO show, "Real Time." Maher called the current situation of cannabis being legal in some states and illegal in others "untenable." He cited the case of Raymond Schwab, a disabled Gulf War veteran whose children were taken away from him by the state of Kansas after he moved to Colorado so that he could use medical marijuana to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
Maher urged, "people who love marijuana" to "please remember that legalizing pot is a long way from a done deal" and to "stop treating it like you could never lose it."