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GOP Congresswoman Supports Marijuana Rescheduling, Cautions Against Broader Drug Decriminalization

GOP Congresswoman Supports Marijuana Rescheduling, Cautions Against Broader Drug Decriminalization

In a recent hearing before the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Republican Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon expressed her support for the federal rescheduling of marijuana while urging caution against broader drug decriminalization efforts.

Chavez-DeRemer commended the decision to move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as “welcoming news.” However, she warned against adopting measures similar to Oregon’s now-overturned drug decriminalization law.

During the hearing, Chavez-DeRemer raised concerns about Oregon’s Measure 110, which aimed to decriminalize all drugs. She emphasized the need to create a safe and professional environment for the rapidly growing cannabis industry, contrasting Oregon’s approach with the federal marijuana rescheduling efforts.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra responded, acknowledging awareness of Measure 110 but lacking familiarity with its details. Chavez-DeRemer urged him to approach future drug policy issues with evidence-based strategies, akin to the agency’s approach to cannabis scheduling review.

While President Joe Biden’s administration initiated a marijuana scheduling review resulting in a Schedule III determination, it is not actively pursuing broader drug decriminalization. However, progressive Democrats introduced a bill to federally decriminalize drugs in the last Congress, though it did not advance and has not been reintroduced.

Chavez-DeRemer also promoted the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) 2.0 Act during the hearing. The bill, which she cosponsors, aims to end federal marijuana prohibition in legal states, legalize interstate cannabis commerce, and establish a federal tax-and-regulate framework for the industry.

The congresswoman emphasized the importance of allowing states to determine their own approach to cannabis regulation, highlighting the need for federal policies that respect states’ rights.

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