Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson predicted today that President Obama will reclassify marijuana before he leaves the White House.
Johnson is currently campaigning as a presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.
“I’m going to predict that Obama, when he leaves office, is going to reschedule marijuana as a Class I narcotic,” Johnson told reporters.
“I wish he would have done that to this point, but I think he’s going to do that going out the door. That’s a positive.”
Despite Johnson’s prediction, there are currently no concrete plans for making any sort of change to marijuana laws at the federal level. In fact, earlier this year President Obama said that he would not make cannabis law reform a priority during his last year in office.
After making his prediction, Johnson said that he thinks the President should take marijuana off the list of controlled substances entirely.
That would leave it up to individual states to figure out whether or not to make marijuana legal.
Cannabis activists have long called for this sort of a change. The federal government currently classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug.
According to the DEA, Schedule I drugs are “defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”
Schedule I drugs include things like cannabis, heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.
Schedule II drugs are considered less harmful. Things like cocaine and meth are in that category.
Since the DEA considers Schedule I drugs to be so dangerous, they also tend to carry the most severe criminal charges.
Why would President Obama reclassify marijuana?
If the federal government were to reclassify marijuana, it could be an important step toward legalization. Many in the cannabis community have argued that cannabis needs to be moved out of Schedule I because of its possible health benefits.
Johnson isn’t the only possible candidate to talk about marijuana laws.
Bernie Sanders has been fairly vocal about the possibility of moving toward legalization. His home state of Vermont is currently working on a bill that could legalize recreational cannabis.
And at a rally earlier this month, Sanders said he’s smoked marijuana twice.
“And what it did for me was it made me cough a lot, that was my response,” Sanders told the crowd. “But I gather other people have had different experiences.”
And on the Republican side of things, Donald Trump is emerging as a candidate who could be open to changing marijuana laws.
In the past, he’s said that legalizing drugs is the only way to win the “War on Drugs.” And in an interview with GQ, he said that “for medicinal purposes and medical purposes, is fine.”
(Photo Credit: Politico)