Nearly a year after California voters approved a bill to legalize marijuana fully across the state for recreational use, the state’s lawmakers are formally calling on the federal government to reclassify cannabis, reports Forbes.
The California Assembly met on Thursday (Sept. 21), during which they urged Congress to reschedule marijuana from its current status as a Schedule I drug.
“The Legislature urges the Congress of the United States to pass a law to reschedule marijuana or cannabis and its derivatives from a Schedule I drug to an alternative schedule, therefore allowing the legal research and development of marijuana or cannabis for medical use,” reads a joint resolution approved by the California Assembly.
The Controlled Substance Act’s Schedule I is supposed to be reserved for drugs with no medical value and a high potential for abuse.
With the rise in use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in recent years, researchers have complained that marijuana’s classification creates hurdles that don’t exist for studies on other substances.
Marijuana is listed alongside drugs like heroin and LSD in Schedule I, while cocaine and methamphetamine are classified in the less restrictive Schedule II category.
Furthremore, the California resolution also calls for the changing of federal law to allow for “the legal commerce of marijuana or cannabis so that businesses dealing with marijuana or cannabis can use traditional banks or financial institutions for their banking needs, which would result in providing a legal vehicle for those businesses to pay their taxes.”
Despite legalization in several states, ongoing federal prohibition have made it so many banks are reluctant to provide financial services to marijuana businesses. This means that most operate on a cash-only basis, making them targets for robberies and other criminal elemtns, as well as the difficulty in California collecting tax revenue.
In 1996, California became the first state to allow medical cannabis.