Health Department Recommends Relaxing Federal Cannabis Policy

( – In a deviation from longstanding federal government policy, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recommended relaxing federal laws on marijuana after President Joe Biden requested a review. Senators praised the decision as a prerequisite to changing federal law.

HHS Secretary Xavier Bacerra announced the change on X (formerly Twitter). He said that they analyzed the scientific data and found what the rest of the world has known for decades: marijuana simply isn’t as dangerous as the authorities have claimed.

The herb was initially outlawed in the early 20th century as a way to harass African Americans and Latinos and was associated with rape and reckless behavior in the film “Reefer Madness” (1936).

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) suggested the drug be rescheduled from Schedule I to III, moving it from alongside heroin to sit next to ketamine. Schedule III substances have recognized medical uses and a lower risk of addiction.

Biden’s administration pardoned thousands who were convicted of the crime of “simply possession” of the drug at the federal level. That was when they issued the request for a review.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) wants the drug to be completely removed from the schedule altogether. He still praised their decision to lower it to Schedule III, calling it a “historical step” and suggesting that marijuana law in the US has thus far been disconnected from reality.

The U.S. Cannabis Council, a non-profit published a statement “enthusiastically welcoming” the change, and said that the shift in scheduling will have a wide range of benefits including sending a signal to judges and lawmakers that the plant isn’t as serious, and it will support the budding cannabis industry.

Not everyone is happy about weed being decriminalized and popularized; there was a recent stink at the 2023 U.S. Tennis Open when the smell of weed wafted across the court multiple times. Multiple players smelled the recognizable odor, with one suggesting that the court “smelled like Snoop Dogg’s living room.”

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