Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Democrats urge Biden administration to deschedule marijuana

By 37ci3 Jan30,2024

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats are putting renewed pressure on the Biden administration to ease federal restrictions on marijuana. new letter The Drug Enforcement Administration is considering rescheduling marijuana after it was federally declassified more than five decades ago.

Department of Health and Human Services officially recommended in August The DEA moved the drug from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act, or CSA, prompting an ongoing month-long investigation.

Among the 12 senators, led by Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and John Fetterman (D-Pa.), and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The letter signed by goes further.

“The case for removing marijuana from Schedule I is huge. The DEA should do this by removing the secret from the CSA entirely, rather than placing it on a lower schedule,” the senators wrote in the letter, first obtained by NBC News.

Rescheduling or eliminating the drug could have significant consequences for the marijuana industry and cannabis users, some of whom use it for medical purposes.

Since 1971, cannabis has been under the CSA’s highest classification, Schedule I, along with drugs like heroin and LSD, which the government officially considers to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

However, 40 states and Washington have legalized cannabis for either recreational or medical use, leaving consumers and business owners to work around changing laws across the country.

The DEA told lawmakers this month that it “has the ultimate authority to schedule, reschedule, or reschedule a drug under the Controlled Substances Act” based on a scientific and medical evaluation, despite a historic recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services over the summer. .

The White House had hoped to announce a reschedule near the one-year mark after President Joe Biden ordered the DEA to review the HHS recommendation in October 2022 and use it as a campaign issue at the ballot box in November. knowledgeable sources about the situation.

Senate Democrats argued in a letter Tuesday that the Biden administration should “urgently” remove the drug from Schedule I before finally scheduling it.

“The Biden Administration has a window of opportunity to plan for marijuana that hasn’t existed in decades, and it needs to get to the right conclusion — it’s consistent with the clear scientific and public health rationale for removing marijuana from Schedule I, and it has to ease the burden of current federal marijuana policy on ordinary people and small businesses.” ” they write.

In addition to Warren, Fetterman and Schumer, Sens. Cory Booker, DN.J. and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., signed on. comprehensive marijuana reform proposal would end federal prohibition and decriminalize secrecy, a law that lacks the necessary support across the aisle.

A similar fabric In 2022, legislation that would legalize marijuana nationwide passed largely along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Another bill known as SAFE Banking Act, will make it easier for financial institutions to offer banking services to cannabis companies in states where the drug is legal and where there is bipartisan support for the legislation to reach the finish line. After the bill passed out of committee in the fall, Schumer said getting it through the Senate would be a top legislative priority, but a vote has not yet been scheduled.

Meanwhile, Biden has exercised executive power donate thousands the number of people convicted of simple possession and use of marijuana, most recently in December.

A a national survey was conducted According to the Coalition for Cannabis Planning Reform released in December, a large majority of voters aged 18-25 – 65% – supported Biden’s efforts to reschedule cannabis, another sign that the issue could help him politically. in a tough re-election bid.

Seventy percent of Americans support federal marijuana legalization, the highest percentage ever recent Gallup poll.

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