NORML criticized the statements made today by Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, in which he reiterated the President’s position that cannabis has been postponed under federal law (under Appendix II) and not removed from controlled substances in a manner similar to tobacco and alcohol ( removed).
“It is impractical at best and insincere at worst for the Biden campaign to claim that rescheduling cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II – the same category as cocaine – would in some way remove the existing inconsistencies between state and federal marijuana laws “said NORML managing director Erik Altieri. “Controlled Substances Act rescheduling marijuana would continue to make the federal government the main dictator of cannabis policy and do little or nothing to address its criminal status under federal law.” Under such a policy, the majority of states that have legalized cannabis for medical or adult use would continue to be in violation of federal law. “
The press secretary also failed to provide explicit answers to direct questions about whether the president would enlist laws in law banning cannabis or allowing banks to work with state-licensed marijuana companies. Yesterday, House members passed a law for the fourth time explicitly allowing financial institutions to work with licensed cannabis companies.
On the political implications:
The majority of Americans want adult marijuana legal regulation, according to the following national surveys:
Quinnipiac University, April 2021
Do you think marijuana use should or shouldn’t be legalized in the United States?
- Overall: 69% yes – 25% no
- Democrats / 78% Yes
- Republicans / 62% Yes
- Independent / 67% Yes
Pew Research Center, April 2021
Percent who say marijuana should be legal
- For medical and recreational purposes: 60%
- For medical use only: 31%
For other national and polls click here.
On the political implications:
NORML believes that federal law rescheduling cannabis is impractical and counterproductive. Most Americans want cannabis to be treated similarly to alcohol, which is not planned under federal law. You don’t want cannabis to be regulated like cocaine or oxycodone. Both are currently classified as Annex II substances.
Additionally, rescheduling cannabis to Schedule II would continue to perpetuate the ongoing conflict between state and federal laws, as any country-specific legalization schemes are currently inconsistent with those required for Schedule II substances – all of which are only available from pharmacies and are illegal Possess without a doctor’s prescription.
In contrast, Congress recently overruled low-THC cannabis plants. In December 2018, Congress passed a law removing low-THC (less than 0.3 percent) cannabis plants from the jurisdiction of the Controlled Substances Act. This change in policy created a dual regulator for the regulation of hemp vis-à-vis both the federal government (e.g. the United States Department of Agriculture) and individual states. The overall rescheduling of cannabis would be in line with this existing policy and many of the state / federal regulations already established by this policy change.
To read NORML’s memo on the practical functionality of the Controlled Substances Act, which outlines the need to remove marijuana altogether from the CSA, Click here.