U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to decriminalize cannabis by removing the drug from the Federal controlled substances list.
Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA), the Attorney General can remove a substance from the CSA’s list, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), based on the finding that it does not have the potential for abuse. Decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level via this descheduling process would allow states to regulate cannabis as they see fit, begin to remedy the harm caused by decades of racial disparities in enforcement of cannabis laws, and facilitate valuable medical research.
“While Congress works to pass comprehensive cannabis reform, you can act now to decriminalize cannabis,” wrote Senators Booker and Warren.
The vast majority of the country supports decriminalization of cannabis: approximately 91% of adults in the United States believe that cannabis should be legal for medical and recreational use, or for medical use only. To date, thirty-six states, four territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, and eighteen states, two territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use.