A group of lawmakers has forwarded correspondence advocating that the Biden administration deprogram cannabis and pardon nonviolent cannabis-related offenders.
Sens Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to President Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra regarding the request.
“It is evident that cannabis has widely accepted medical benefits, affirmed by the medical and scientific communities here and around the world,” the lawmakers wrote. “The American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and New England Journal of Medicine have all supported the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. The World Health Organization has also recommended reclassifying cannabis from its most restrictive classification under the international drug treaties.
Lawmakers noted that medical cannabis helps millions of people nationwide with chronic pain, seizure disorders, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other conditions.
“We commend the administration’s recent pardons and commutations of 78 individuals, including nine for nonviolent cannabis-related offences,” the senators wrote. “However, much more needs to be done to address the racist and harmful legacy of cannabis policies on black and brown communities.”
The senators cited statistics showing that black people are almost four times more likely to be arrested for possession of cannabis, with statistics rising to almost 10 times more likely in some states.
“The administration’s failure to coordinate a speedy review of its cannabis policy is hurting thousands of Americans, slowing research, and robbing Americans of their ability to use marijuana for medical or other purposes” , the lawmakers concluded. “We call on the administration to act quickly to rectify this decade-long injustice that harms individuals, especially black and brown communities.”