California lawmakers have officially requested that the federal government reclassify cannabis.
"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," states a joint resolution approved by the California Assembly on Thursday.
The Controlled Substance Act's Schedule I – supposedly limited to drugs with no medical value and a high potential for abuse – also applies to heroin and LSD.
The resolution also calls for altering 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."
Federal prohibition has caused many banks to hesitate over providing financial services to cannabis businesses. This has made cannabis businesses vulnerable to robberies, as most of them have to operate on a cash-only basis. A cash-only system also makes collecting sales tax revenue more complicated.
Recently, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee directed federal agencies to issue a report on marijuana’s Schedule I status, which the committee said obstructs research.