31 bipartisan members of the US House of Representatives have sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) urging them to consider legalizing marijuana via descheduling it.
In August the Department of Health sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officially requesting marijuana be reclassified as a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which would effectively legalize it for prescription use. The letter came in response to a request by President Biden last year for the government to research and consider rescheduling marijuana. Congressional researchers say the DEA is “likely” to reschedule marijuana.
Now, a group of 31 lawmakers are asking the DEA to consider going further than simply rescheduling marijuana and instead deschedule it altogether. This would end the federal government’s prohibition on marijuana while allow states to decide their own laws.
The letter was led by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D), Brian Mast (R), Barbara Lee (D) and Dave Joyce (D), along with 27 cosigners, including leader of the Progressive Caucus Representative Pramila Jayapal (D).
The group calls Biden’s action to reschedule marijuana a “necessary step in the work to end the federal government’s failed and discriminatory prohibition of cannabis.” However, the group says that the administration and relevant agencies such as the DEA “should recognize the merits of full descheduling and work with congressional leaders to ensure this happens”. They say that prohibition doesn’t “reflect the will of the broader American electorate”.
“Descheduling is necessary to end the harmful federal marijuana prohibition and help our law enforcement officers appropriately prioritize public safety”, says the letter. “Descheduling also provides the clearest path to address the legal uncertainty facing small businesses in states with regulated cannabis markets by creating opportunities for regulating and taxing commercial marijuana activities.”
The group continues:
While Congress works to send the President comprehensive cannabis legislation, the urgency of full descheduling should inform DEA’s position on overall cannabis reform and appropriate enforcement centered on advancing public safety, not unjust criminalization. Marijuana’s continued inappropriate scheduling is both arcane and out-of-touch with the will of the American people. We look forward to your response and the Drug Enforcement Administration working transparently and proactively with Congress to adopt this crucial step.
According to two separate polls released earlier this year, 64% of adults in the United States support marijuana being fully legalized.