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Cannabis Rescheduling ‘Would Fail To Deliver On President Biden’s Promises’ Of Reform, Say Advocacy Groups

Cannabis rescheduling would ‘continue the very criminalization that Biden said he would end’, according to leading US advocacy groups that have urged the government to go further.

Last week, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) held a virtual press conference alongside a number of other prominent advocacy organizations and business groups, arguing that cannabis needs to be removed entirely from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

It comes as pressure mounts on the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to honour the recommendations of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) to reclassify cannabis from a Schedule I substance to a Schedule III substance, helping substantially open up access across the country.

As the DEA continues its review of the recommendations, which form part of President Biden’s pledge to reform cannabis federally, the advocacy groups made it clear that they believed rescheduling would fail to meet this pledge.

The DPA’s director of drug markets and legal regulation, Cat Packer, said: “Rescheduling marijuana without further action would fail to deliver on President Biden’s promises to Black and Brown communities and risks leaving the very individuals in communities that have borne the brunt of cannabis criminalization behind.”

“Rescheduling marijuana to Schedule III, the outcome that is anticipated to result from the Biden administration’s actions would continue the very criminalization that Biden said that he would end.”

Chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition and founding director of Cannabis NYC, Dasheeda Dawson, said that it was critical to ‘deschedule, or do nothing’.

“Descheduling marijuana is not merely a matter of legality, it is a moral imperative. By removing cannabis from the confines of federal scheduling, we can dismantle the barriers that have hindered our efforts to repair and restore the lives of those most harmed by outdated, draconian policies.”

The group joins a growing list of prominent industry voices and lawmakers calling on the DEA and Biden administration to be bolder in their actions to reform cannabis, with many claiming it could mean the difference between winning and losing the upcoming election.

Last month, it was reported that Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, suggested that rescheduling was ‘vastly less than what we need from the federal government and where the public at large is’.

Her suggestions that decriminalisation could be a major vote winner was echoed by Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster and strategist who serves as president of Lake Research Partners, who told the publication it could be key in swing states.

“It’s a really strong issue with some constituencies that Democrats really need to increase their support and enthusiasm, specifically young people, African Americans, Democratic base voters, people of color, young men of color.”

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