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Veterans Urge Biden To Reschedule Cannabis, But Some Lawmakers Express Concerns

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

February 23, 2024 02:32 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
Veterans Urge Biden To Reschedule Cannabis, But Some Lawmakers Express Concerns

As the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and federal government draw closer to moving cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III substance, more groups have begun to put their weight behind the movement. The latest comes from six of the nation’s most prominent veterans groups, including the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, AMVETS, American GI Forum, the American Legion, the Blinded Veterans Association, and the Minority Veterans of America.

On Thursday, the six groups sent letters to the Biden Administration and the Department of Justice pushing for them to reschedule cannabis.

“The men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces often face difficult physical and mental challenges upon returning home. As such, we hope that in treating the wounds of war — both visible and invisible — that our servicemembers and veterans would have access to the widest array of possible treatments,” writes an excerpt from the veterans’ letter, via NBC News.

Medical marijuana is effective at helping with a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, chronic pain, and more. Countless veterans suffer from these ailments, and, as such, are pushing for access to as many treatments and therapies as possible.

It’s not just veterans and military members pushing for rescheduling — the Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration have also expressed support for the change. One of the main reasons they cited for doing so is due to the varying differences in laws between the state and federal levels.

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“We are current and former police chiefs, sheriffs, federal and state prosecutors, and correctional officials from across the country dedicated to protecting public safety and reducing unnecessary arrests, prosecutions, and incarceration,” their letter read, from The Hill. “We urge your Administration to reclassify marijuana from a schedule I to a schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act.”

Rescheduling marijuana would move it from Schedule I, where it is considered a highly addictive drug with no medical benefits, to Schedule III, where it would be viewed as having some applicable medical uses.

However, although this seems like a step in the right direction, some lawmakers are worried it won’t be enough. A group of Democratic senators is pushing for full legalization and decriminalization of the drug, stating that rescheduling alone could set back the path to federal legalization significantly.

“Because sometimes you take an incremental step such as this, which took us years and years and years to get through, it will take another 50 years to get to legalization,” said Congresswoman Rep. Barbara Lee (D) to Marijuana Moment.

While there is no date yet on when the formal decision from the DEA will be released, it could be as soon as a few weeks from now.

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