Democrats Want To “Swiftly” Reclassify Marijuana

( – There’s been a years-long debate as to whether marijuana should be reclassified. Despite it being decriminalized in many states, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently classifies it as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I designations are typically assigned to those with “high risk” of abuse and no medical use and also include LSD, meth, and heroin. Now, Democratic lawmakers are pushing the administration to reclassify it.

In a letter dated Thursday, April 25, 21 Democrats are asking Attorney General Merrick Garland and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram “to swiftly deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).” Led by Senators John Fetterman (PA) and Elizabeth Warren (MA), along with Reps. Earl Blumenauer (OR) and Barbara Lee (CA), the lawmakers cited a Freedom of Information Act request in which the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) noted that marijuana doesn’t “meet the medical or scientific requirements for Schedule I.” The agency suggested rescheduling marijuana to a Schedule III, but Democrats are asking the administration to declassify it altogether.

More than 18 months have passed since HHS and the Justice Department received orders from President Joe Biden to review the status of marijuana and its classification. The HHS recommendation to reclassify it as a Schedule III drug came down eight months ago. Then, in January, it released a 250-page report noting that the drug is less harmful and prone to abuse. The authors of the letter compared marijuana to alcohol, which they say has more adverse health risks but isn’t listed on the CSA. They claim that the Schedule III designation would lessen criminal and civil penalties, but it wouldn’t eliminate them, which is the goal.

Other signatories include Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer (NY), Cory Booker (NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Jeff Merkley (OR), John Hickenlooper (CO), Ron Wyden (OR), Peter Welch (VT), Alex Padilla (CA), Chris Van Hollen (MD), and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders (VT).

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