On Tuesday Colorado Governor Jared Polis sent a letter to President Biden declaring support for the Department of Health’s recent request to reschedule marijuana.
“We are pleased to hear that you have recently received Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation to move cannabis to Schedule III”, Governor Polis says in the letter. “It’s about time. This is an historic moment and we owe you and your Administration a debt of gratitude for your leadership on catching up with where the science is.”
Polis continues: “Cannabis’ current classification under federal law as a Schedule I drug is contradicted by the scientific evidence. The notion, as previously considered, that cannabis has no accepted medical use, a high potential for abuse, and no accepted safety standards even under medical supervision has been widely disproven, HHS’s recommendation is evidence-based and a move in the right direction.”
Polis says that “considering the letter from Assistant Secretary of Health Levine to Administrator Milgram, it’s apparent that HHS agrees with the conclusion that the current treatment of cannabis under the CSA is not valid. It is our expectation that DEA will expeditiously follow suit per your request and recommend that cannabis be re-scheduled to Schedule III.”
Polis prefaces this by saying that “much work lies ahead.”
“I am writing to offer my enthusiastic support as DEA promptly reviews and acts upon FDA’s analysis in the coming weeks”, Polis continues. “I ask you to simultaneously consider a few next steps in the near future by showing your support for access to banking for the state-regulated marketplace, reduced criminal penalties for possession and distribution of cannabis, addressing immigration related consequences and
enforcement discretion from FDA.”
Polis notes that as the Governor of Colorado, he oversees the very first “and one of the most successful” regulated cannabis marketplaces in the country. As a State, Colorado has generated more than $14.7 billion in regulated cannabis sales and created 100,000 jobs.
“It’s working here in Colorado, and we’re also seeing positive results in 37 other states that have some form of legal cannabis”, says Polis. “It’s a generational shift that has brought over $15 billion in tax revenue to states allowing them to better fund essential government functions, such as programs in improving mental health outcomes and building schools and community centers.”
Polis says that “The most efficient way to address these public health risks is to displace the illicit marketplace and replace it with a legal, safe, regulated, and age-verified system. But we can only do that by promoting federal policies that allow for profitability in these well-established state-regulated
Polis concludes his letter by stating:
Finally, to protect the sanctity of the well-equipped state markets that we have built over the past decade, we must also develop and publish FDA enforcement guidance to minimize economic disruption, promote state-federal collaboration, and protect the public’s health. To provide clarity, we hope that you will press FDA to develop and publish guidance outlining their enforcement discretion and priorities with respect to the state-regulated cannabis industry. Specifically, an enforcement discretion policy should articulate that FDA will not bring a compliance action against companies whose products and activities are authorized by state medical and recreational marijuana laws, so long as they are abiding by state law and not making health claims, marketing in interstate commerce, or marketing to children. Let’s celebrate this progress and work together to finish the job. We greatly appreciate your leadership, and please come visit Colorado again soon.