Biden To Reclassify The Marijuana Laws Nationwide

Home » Biden To Reclassify The Marijuana Laws Nationwide
Garry Stewart
Written By Steve Brandon

May 1, 2024

biden to reclassify the marijuana laws nationwide

The Biden administration is ready to make a groundbreaking move towards relaxing federal constraints on cannabis, marking a significant departure from policies fixed for over 50 years under the Controlled Substances Act, according to sources familiar with the decision.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is expected to support a suggestion from the Department of Health and Human Services to change marijuana’s classification from Schedule I to Schedule III. This means shifting medical marijuana from being very risky to less risky, making it suitable for medical prescriptions, hence making the states marijuana friendly.

Attorney General Merrick Garland forwarded the proposal for rescheduling to the White House Office of Management and Budget. But the change won’t happen right away. After it’s published, people will have 60 days to comment. Then, a judge will review it, possibly holding hearings before coming to a conclusion.

What does rescheduling mean?

Basically, rescheduling means that scientists can study marijuana more to find out its medical benefits. It might also let drug companies sell it in states where it’s legal but can be sold to only people with medical marijuana card.

In October 2022, President Biden told the Department of Health and Human Services to look at how marijuana is classified. He said no one should go to jail just for using or having marijuana.

During the Obama administration, the White House opposed marijuana legalization. However, subsequent developments, including the Cole Memo of 2013, facilitated the emergence of the modern marijuana market by reducing federal intervention in legalized states.

Cole, who is currently a member of the National Cannabis Roundtable, clarified that putting marijuana on Schedule III would facilitate testing in laboratories without rigorous regulations.

Former Obama advisor Kevin Sabet, the head of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, believes the decision to reclassify marijuana is political. He thinks that by endorsing visually appealing, children-friendly cannabis products, it will hurt children. Sabet adds that while the marijuana industry will profit monetarily from its reclassification to Schedule III, doing so could give the false impression that it is less harmful.

biden to reclassify the marijuana laws nationwide

Future Challenges

The marijuana industry could benefit soon as the DEA plans to announce changes. However, there might be challenges during the public review period, which could lead to adjustments in the proposal.

After public comments are in and the Office of Management and Budget reviews, Congress can also vote on the rule. Democrats have the majority in the Senate, making it likely that the rescheduling will go forward.

Despite differing views in Congress, support for marijuana reform is growing, driven by voters. A recent Pew Research poll found that almost 6 in 10 Americans support legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Currently, 24 states allow recreational marijuana.

Congress is considering ways to support the growth of legal marijuana companies and facilitate the entry of smaller retailers, including minority-owned businesses, into the market.

The SAFER Banking Act is one such that might permit companies that sell legal marijuana to make use of standard banking services. By year’s end, this Act may be approved by both houses of Congress.

The HOPE Act is another bill that lawmakers are considering. Through the help of this Act, minor, nonviolent marijuana convictions would be removed from people’s records by state and local governments.

Some Democrats want to take marijuana off the list of controlled substances. They think each state should decide its own marijuana laws and focus on helping people affected by past drug laws.

Majority Leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer applauded the government’s action. He believes that strict marijuana laws should be changed to reflect what the majority of Americans and science believe.

Schumer is committed to passing two bills: one to give legal marijuana businesses access to banking services, and another to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances entirely. He says Congress needs to end the federal ban on marijuana and fix the harm caused by past drug policies.

While applauding the government’s action, Senator Cory Booker stated that much work remains. He wants Congress to legalize pot for adults by following the example set by the states. In order to assist those impacted by previous drug laws, he also wants clear rules for taxes and regulations.

However, some lawmakers are worried. They remember what happened when Congress legalized hemp production in 2018. It led to the sale of unregulated synthetic cannabinoids, especially in states where marijuana is still illegal.

This has caused concerns from both Democrats and Republicans. Recently, there’s been controversy over Delta-8, a synthetic product made from hemp-derived CBD, which can have harmful chemicals.

Take Away

Biden’s move to reclassify marijuana could lead to more research and regulated sales. But there are worries about unregulated products. Congress is discussing changes to marijuana laws due to growing support for reform. The focus is on balancing science, regulation, and addressing past injustices.

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