Marijuana News

Coalition of Democrats Presses DEA to Reschedule Marijuana

Coalition of Democrats Presses DEA to Reschedule Marijuana


A coalition of Democrats, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren and John Fetterman, along with Representatives Barbara Lee and Earl Blumenauer, has called upon the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to swiftly remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This move comes after nearly eight months since the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended rescheduling marijuana to Schedule III and 18 months since President Joe Biden directed HHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to begin the process of reviewing marijuana's scheduling.

The coalition of Democrats expressed their impatience with the DEA's ongoing review of cannabis's designation. In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, they emphasized that it is time for the DEA to act and correct marijuana's classification as a Schedule I substance. Schedule I is reserved for drugs with no accepted medical use and a high risk of abuse.

HHS's recommendation last year to reschedule marijuana to Schedule III has been a pivotal point in the discussion. The Democrats reiterated their call for marijuana to be descheduled entirely, highlighting that the DEA should not disregard HHS's medical findings. The letter also mentioned Vice President Kamala Harris's reassurance to stakeholders about the DEA's work toward a decision on marijuana's scheduling.

The signatories of the letter included prominent Democratic Senators such as Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Ron Wyden, Alex Padilla, Peter Welch, Jeff Merkley, John Hickenlooper, and Cory Booker, along with Independent Senator Bernie Sanders. In the House, Democrats Robert Garcia, Jan Schakowsky, Dina Titus, Val Hoyle, Becca Balint, Jim McGovern, and Katie Porter, as well as Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, also added their names to the letter.

This coalition's push for rescheduling comes at a time when public opinion and state laws regarding marijuana have been shifting. As of now, 18 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana use, and the Senate Democrats have been working on a draft bill to end the federal prohibition on marijuana. This draft bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, expunge federal convictions for nonviolent marijuana offenses, and establish a way to tax marijuana.

The DEA and the attorney general's office have not responded to requests for comment on the matter. However, this move by the coalition of Democrats is a significant step towards addressing the federal government's stance on marijuana and could have far-reaching implications for the legal and economic landscape surrounding the substance.




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