Law enforcement leaders urge Biden to reclassify marijuana to lesser status

A group of law enforcement leaders urged President Biden to reclassify marijuana to a lesser status in a Thursday letter.

“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,” reads the letter from the Law Enforcement Leaders To Reduce Crime & Incarceration group.

“We urge your Administration to reclassify marijuana from a schedule I to a schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA),” the letter continues.

The letter notes that “[p]ublic opinion on how the federal government should treat cannabis has dramatically shifted away from historic punitive approaches to cannabis use” and that at the end of this year, 38 “states will have established a form of legalized framework — medical, adult-use, or both — with strong voter and/or legislative support.”

The group cited the discrepancy between how marijuana is treated at state and federal levels, claiming it makes it challenging for law enforcement.

“We are concerned about how the direct conflict between state and federal laws that currently exists regarding the handling of cannabis makes it difficult for law enforcement to respond effectively to pressing public safety challenges,” the letter continues.

Some Democratic Senators implored the Biden administration to completely deschedule marijuana at the end of last month. Last month, 11 Democratic senators, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) argued in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Anne Milgram that the administration “should deschedule marijuana altogether.”

“Marijuana’s placement in the [Controlled Substances Act] has had a devastating impact on our communities and is increasingly out of step with state law and public opinion,” they wrote.

The Department of Health and Human Services sent recommendations to the DEA to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III last year.

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