Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson Has High Hopes President Obama Will Reclassify Marijuana

The once and possibly future Libertarian presidential candidate thinks Obama will remove marijuana's Schedule I classification before he leaves office.


Gary Johnson, the former two-term Republican

High hopes.
Gov Gary Johnson/Flickr

governor of New Mexico who between his 2012 and 2016 Libertarian presidential runs was the CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc., believes President Obama will reclassify marijuana off of its current status as a Schedule I narcotic before he leaves the White House next January.  

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) describes Schedule I drugs as substances "with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse" adding that these substances are "the most dangerous drugs…with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence."

In an interview this past Tuesday, Johnson told the the Washington Times marijuana will soon be treated "just like alcohol." He added:

Obama, when he leaves office, is going to deschedule marijuana as a Class I narcotic. 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.

Johnson pointed to the "vibrancy" of Colorado, which voted to legalize marijuana in 2012 and put the new law in effect in 2014, calling legalized pot a "contributing factor" to the increased popularity of the state as a tourist destination.

In Obama's first term, his administration notoriously reneged on a campaign promise to leave legal medical pot dispensaries alone, and instead launched a crackdown that dwarfed the DEA's efforts during the George W. Bush era. 

Though Obama once tried to deflect criticism over his administration's relentless busting of dispensaries, claiming he "couldn't nullify Congressional law," Reason's Jacob Sullum has noted that the president has the executive power to reclassify marijuana off the list of the most dangerous and consequently, most harshly prosecuted drugs.

Obama's own former attorney general, Eric Holder, has gone on the record as saying marijuana "certainly…ought to be rescheduled."