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On Decriminalizing Marijuana and Debates on Reform Bills

BY: Chronic Staff | Recent News | October 22, 2021

Both are pushing for marijuana legalization and are calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to exercise his authority in order to end federal prohibition. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-N) sent a letter to make the case that the Justice Department should start a process in order to “allow states to regulate cannabis as they see fit, begin remedy the harm caused by decades of racial disparities in enforcement of cannabis laws, and facilitate valuable medical research.”

The letter also mentioned that while Congress works to pass comprehensive cannabis reform, they can act now to decriminalize cannabis. It is a critical first step in addressing the racial inequities in cannabis law, as per the senators.

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal praised the senators' action and is anticipating the Attorney General’s response.

In fact, the attorney general can seek a marijuana policy change under the Controlled Substances Act with no additional action required by congress as a statutory process. Either that or the official can start requesting a review directly to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would then assess scientific, medical, and public health repercussions before submitting the review to the Justice Department.

The two senators would like for the attorney general to make a move to unilaterally end federal cannabis prohibition by requesting a response by October 20.

Meanwhile, then-Attorney General Eric Holder expressed in an interview that the U.S. is on the path to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level since more states continue to advance reform.

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