Vice President Kamala Harris Supports Legalizing Marijuana, But President Biden “Not Quite There”

As the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues the process of rescheduling marijuana, Vice President Kamala Harris is urging further reform, while President Biden is taking a more conservative approach.

On May 21, the DEA published its proposal to move marijuana to Schedule III, allowing its compounds and potential whole-plant medicines to be prescribed nationwide once they receive regulatory approval. At the halfway point of the required 60-day public comment period, over 20,000 comments have been submitted, with the vast majority supporting either rescheduling or fully descheduling marijuana.

The Biden/Harris Administration began the rescheduling process by initiating a review via executive order in 2022, and they have praised the Department of Justice’s decision to move marijuana to Schedule III. However, both the president and vice president have called for further reform.

In April, VP Harris made history as the first vice president to openly support marijuana legalization, saying “we need to legalize marijuana” during an event highlighting the administration’s marijuana pardons. The same month, President Biden’s press secretary said it’s “very, very clear” that he support decriminalizing marijuana.

In May, a campaign official said that Vice President Harris plans to strongly advocate for the legalization of recreational marijuana once the rescheduling process is complete.

Now, a campaign official for President Biden says that although he “absolutely” supports decriminalizing marijuana, “he’s just not there yet” when it comes to full legalization. The official refused to elaborate further. This maintains the stance President Biden has held for at least the past few years; he wants further reform, but not legalization.

According to recent polling, President Biden is out of step with voters on this issue, with 69% nationwide in support of legalizing marijuana.

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