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420 with CNW — White House Noncommittal on Biden’s View of DOJ’s Stand on Cannabis Reclassification

The White House hasn’t disclosed whether President Joseph Biden backs the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) proposal to reclassify cannabis after a review he initiated. During a conversation with Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, reporters asked questions regarding the president’s stance on the DOJ’s proposal to shift marijuana from Schedule I to III.

Jean Pierre responded by noting that Biden’s administration would let the review process unfold, so she wouldn’t “preempt the matter.” She also stressed the president’s clear stance against incarcerating individuals solely for cannabis possession. Jean-Pierre has consistently refrained from directly addressing the administration’s stance on the rescheduling proposal. Nonetheless, she noted that the review directed by the president aligns with his promise to voters during the last election.

Biden has granted mass pardons twice to individuals convicted of federal cannabis possession offenses. Reclassifying marijuana to Schedule III wouldn’t legalize it or release individuals currently imprisoned for cannabis-related charges.

It’s worth noting that during his presidential campaign, Biden promised to reclassify cannabis as Schedule II substance, which is a stricter classification than what his administration is considering. Jean-Pierre reiterated that the president’s position on the matter is the reason behind his directive for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) and the DOJ to review the rescheduling of cannabis.

The White House has yet to confirm the status of the rescheduling proposal. While Jean-Pierre mentioned the proposal is with the DOJ, the department confirmed completing the review. It’s expected to have been forwarded to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for assessment before publication in the Federal Register for public input.

During a committee hearing last week, the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration  (DEA) declined to comment on the department’s recent cannabis rescheduling decision due to the ongoing rulemaking process.

Last month, the press secretary reiterated Biden’s support for cannabis decriminalization. She also stressed that HHS’s rescheduling recommendation to the DEA was grounded in evidence and science, echoing the administration’s principles.

Both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have increasingly vocalized their support for cannabis policy reform leading up to the November election. Additionally, the top House Democrat noted that the administration’s move to reschedule cannabis is a positive step but advocated for further congressional action, including passing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s legalization bill.

Conversely, a GOP senator argued that cannabis serves as a “gateway drug” and criticized Democrats’ legalization efforts as promoting criminal behavior. He also expressed concerns about marijuana banking legislation facilitating increased drug use in the United States.

All that marijuana companies such as Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NASDAQ: ACB) (TSX: ACB) can do at this point is to wait for the formal communication by the DEA regarding their stand on marijuana scheduling in light of the recommendation that the agency received from HHS.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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