Mayors Appeal to Congress to Declassify Marijuana

Coalition of mayors appeals to congress

BOSTON — A coalition of mayors has announced that they will band together to drive Congress into marijuana reform, according to The Associated Press. The mayors' coalition consists of several city mayors in states with legalized marijuana.

The resolution was approved unanimously during the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston on Monday and asks the federal government to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act list of controlled substances. The Controlled Substances Act lists marijuana in the same class as heroin and LSD and in a higher class than other drugs, such as fentanyl and oxycodone.

The coalition of mayors includes those from several legal marijuana states. Cities represented include the mayors of DenverLas Vegas, Los AngelesPortland, San Francisco, Seattle, and West Sacramento and all sponsor of the resolution. The resolution is also being supported by the Oakland mayor and the mayor of Thornton, Colo.

The federal prohibition on cannabis has caused a conflict between the state and federal branches of law thereby complicating matters for law enforcement officials on both levels of government.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a federal policy enacted by President Obama and his administration that instructed federal prosecutors to respect states rights' regarding cannabis. Revoking the policy caused confusion and created contradiction within the law.

The move by Sessions resulted in The STATES Act, another pot bill led by a bipartisan group of senators introduced June 7 that would also protect states with legal marijuana from federal prosecution.

The President said he may support the legislation, but U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions said that the Department of Justice has not altered its policy regarding marijuana despite The STATES Act.

The coalition of mayors also requested in the measure that Congress provide guidelines for banks and marijuana companies so that they can do business as well as give tax deductions for marijuana industry employers.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told reporters the cities represented by the coalition of mayors consists of several that have successfully implemented the legal marijuana industry and have experience Congress could utilize.

Resolution Asks Congress to Provide Legal Medical Marijuana to Veterans 

The coalition also wants veterans to have access to legal medical marijuana and has a provision asking Congress to do so in the measure. Several veteran's organizations have been advocates for medical marijuana because of its potential to treat veterans’ issues.

The suicide rate among veterans is high with an average of 20 veterans committing suicide daily. The veterans group American Legion has been trying to get Congress to reclassify marijuana for years because veterans say it saved their lives.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors will write recommendations for federal policy on marijuana to submit to Congress next year as a result of the resolution.