News, Politics

U.S. Senators Send Letter Urging DOJ to Decriminalize Cannabis

October 13, 2021 03:00 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 2 Minutes

United States Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have teamed up for cannabis reform. On Oct. 6, the senators sent a letter urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level.

Specifically, the senators called on the U.S. attorney general, Merrick Garland, who has the right to remove substances from the controlled substances list under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). However, the attorney general must first work with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to confirm that the substance has no potential for abuse.

The letter states:

“Decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level via this descheduling process would allow states to regulate cannabis as they see fit, begin to remedy the harm caused by decades of racial disparities in enforcement of cannabis laws, and facilitate valuable medical research. While Congress works to pass comprehensive cannabis reform, you can act now to decriminalize cannabis.”

According to the journal Missouri Medicine, decriminalization “is the act of removing criminal sanctions against an act, article, or behavior.” While cannabis would still be federally illegal and not widely accessible for adult use, citizens would not be prosecuted by the legal system for possession under a certain amount.

In their letter, the senators called out President Joe Biden for falling short of his campaign promises to decriminalize cannabis and expunge all prior use convictions, an action supported by a majority of Americans. Based on recent statistics from Pew Research Center, approximately 91% of U.S. adults believe cannabis should be legal for either medical or recreational use.

The letter also notes that the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) acknowledges the medical benefits of THC and CBD. “Cannabis’s Schedule I classification is a significant barrier to further medical research because researchers are severely limited in their ability to access the substance,” wrote the senators.

Booker and Warren requested a response from the attorney general by Oct. 20 on whether he will consider ordering an HHS review, which is the first step in descheduling a drug.

Post Your Comments

Rosie says:

October 15, 2021 at 9:02 am

Bravo to Warren & Booker for pushing the issue to decriminalization cannabis! It’s time to move forward toward progress!