Pathetic White House Response to High Times Cannabis Rescheduling Request


High Times Magazine was excited to receive a reply from the White House to their appeal to reschedule cannabis. Unfortunately, the response from Obama’s drug czar was stale, obstructive, and generally pathetic.

High Times August 2015 issue comes with the president on the cover with the admonition, “Legalize Marijuana” and “End the war on weed.” The request by Editor-in-chief Dan Skye to President Obama was totally rational and appropriate. It reads in part:

The battle for cannabis legalization has become far more than a fight for our rights as Americans. It’s now a moral issue.

The war that the government has waged on its citizens to forcibly stop them from using marijuana has been tragic and costly: 15 million arrests, a soaring prison population, families destroyed, billions of tax dollars wasted. All this, despite the fact that the history of America—let alone the world—is interwoven with cannabis agriculture and cannabis medicine.

Right now, according to the Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is a Schedule I Drug: one with a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the US.

We’re asking you to heed his own moral compass and re-schedule or, better yet, un-schedule cannabis altogether. Use your executive power now and free cannabis. Free us!

The good news is that “The White House” did respond. The bad news is that the stale response sounded like something, literally, so last century. The response mentioned nothing about the main request, rescheduling cannabis, saying only “This Administration opposes marijuana legalization.” Instead the entire reply was lame. The paragraph below (sentences separated for clarity), for example:

Like many people, we are also interested in the potential marijuana components may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. 

That is why we support ongoing research into evaluating what components of the marijuana plant may be used as medicine.

To date, though, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.

The first sentence betrays the use of the tactic to by-pass marijuana as medicine by focusing on components that produce no “high”, such as CBD. This is not going to work, as THC is a powerful medicine on its own and in entourage with CBD and other cannabinoids.

The second sentence repeats this misguided focus on components. It lies directly when it says “we support on-going research.” Research remains nearly impossible in the USA. Easing research would involve rescheduling down from Schedule I, an action President Obama could take on his own, but will not do so. He has not even used his moral authority to advance rescheduling bills now before congress.

In the last sentence, the response turns truly ludicrous.  They dare begin a sentence with “To date” and then refer to the Institute of Medicine 1999 study. Sir, it is now 2015! Furthurmore, they totally misrepresent the findings of that seminal IOM study which found marijuana to be good medicine for many conditions (and NOT a gateway drug), but disqualified it because of the smoking aspect. This at a time when non-smoking means of ingesting medical marijuana were becoming available, especially no-smoke vaporization!

Now, of course, medical marijuana users have a dozen safe ways to ingest their medicine smoke free, including scores of types of vaporizers. The smoking notion that was obsolete in 1999 is ridiculous in 2015.  Regarding the FDA, under heavy pressure from prohibitionist in congress, the agency specifically ignored the IOM report in 2006, much in the way the president’s current statement twists and lies about the actual findings of the report.

The last sentence concludes that marijuana is not a medicine for any condition, disgraceful and morally reprehensible propaganda from “The White House” in 2015.

Don Fitch

Interest in cannabis liberation extends back to the 1960s for Don Fitch. Most of his career has been in high tech and preventive health care, endeavors he continues with Well-Being Skills, focused now on ebook publishing. Don has always followed and contributed to efforts for ending marijuana prohibition. An Oregonian whose vision is endangered by glaucoma, Don has benefited from his state’s 1998 medical cannabis law, and his eyesight is fully preserved. Don has been writing about cannabis and well-being since 2008 in his blog, This site explores the bountiful health benefits stemming from the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and increasingly legal medical cannabis. The impact of these discoveries, and the use of marijuana in prevention and treatment, may be as important to health care as were the microelectronic discoveries Don wrote about in the early ’80s were to our on-going technological revolution. His major goal, still frustrated after decades, is to see cannabis down-scheduled from Schedule I at the federal level. For fun, Don flies paragliders and travels.