The Biden administration has made a notable statement regarding its stance on cannabis legalization. During a briefing on Friday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre conveyed the administration’s support for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. This announcement comes just days after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an unprecedented recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), suggesting that cannabis be reclassified from Schedule I to Schedule III under federal law.
Jean-Pierre stated, “The president asked the secretary of HHS and also the attorney general to initiate the administrative process to review how marijuana is scheduled.” She emphasized that this process is independent and led by HHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ), guided by scientific evidence. Jean-Pierre refrained from further commenting on the matter and directed inquiries to HHS.
She added, “Look, the president has always supported the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. He’s been very clear about that, where appropriate, consistent with medical and scientific evidence. That is why it is important for this review — this independent review that is going to be, again, guided by evidence — to go through.”
However, it’s important to note that President Biden’s stance on cannabis has evolved over the years, as documented by Marijuana Moment. While the administration now emphasizes support for medical cannabis legalization, President Biden has a legislative history that includes backing anti-drug legislation, particularly during the 1990s, which saw an escalation in drug war enforcement.
This recent development signals a potentially significant shift in the administration’s approach to cannabis policy. As the review process unfolds and further developments emerge, it will be interesting to see how this evolving stance on cannabis legalization may impact federal cannabis laws and regulations.