Cohen: New Obama Administration Drug Policy a Step in the Right Direction

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today applauded the Obama Administration for recently unveiling a new drug policy strategy, particularly its approach to marijuana use and possession.   

“The War on Drugs has been a failure since day one,” said Congressman Cohen, who spoke to President Obama at the Democratic retreat in Leesburg, Virginia in February about ending the unsuccessful War on Drugs.  “I commend President Obama for beginning to take a new, more sensible approach to our country’s drug policy.  The emphasis of our drug policy should be on heroin, meth, crack, cocaine and unauthorized use of prescription drugs – not marijuana possession.  I also appreciate his recognition of the unnecessary barriers that some people with drug convictions face.  I hope he will support my call for a National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy, which would study these and related issues.”

Congressman Cohen recently introduced H.R. 1635, legislation to create a National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy.  The Commission would undertake a comprehensive review of the federal government’s current policies toward marijuana, particularly in light of the growing number of states where marijuana is already legal for medicinal or personal use. He is also working on legislation to alleviate the collateral consequences marijuana convictions have on people pursuing housing, a higher education, and employment.

Congressman Cohen has also sent letters to the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, urging him to reconsider the federal government’s approach to the personal use of marijuana and the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The Memphis Congressman has also joined with more than a dozen other lawmakers in sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart urging them to ensure that neither the Department of Justice nor DEA take enforcement action against anyone who acts in compliance with the laws of Colorado, Washington and any other states that choose to regulate access to marijuana for medicinal or personal use.

###