Democratic lawmakers want President Barack Obama to change marijuana's classification as a dangerous drug — a move that a leading activist for the legalization of the drug says would enable more research into it.
"It would make it still restricted, as cocaine . . . is still a restricted drug . . . but it would make it easier for scientists and doctors to research it," Martin Lee told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"Right now, [research is] almost impossible," he said Tuesday.
Lee is the author of "Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana"
and co-founder of Project CBD, a nonprofit, activist think tank that "defends and promotes whole plant cannabis therapeutics."
Marijuana is now lumped in the same category as heroin and ecstasy, which are classified as "schedule 1" controlled substances. They are considered drugs that are routinely abused and have no medical benefits.
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A group of 17 Democrats and one Republican wrote to Obama saying the current classification wastes law enforcement resources. They cited Obama's recent remark that he sees using marijuana as no more dangerous than drinking alcohol.
"[Researchers] could explore the potential health benefits from marijuana, of which there are significant [ones]," Lee said.
"What they’ve shown in states that have legalized medical marijuana across the board, there is less drunk-driving accidents as a result because people drink less alcohol when more marijuana is available."
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