Dozens of current and former US law enforcement leaders have added their voices to the call for rescheduling marijuana.

It’s been 16 months since US President Joe Biden kick-started a review of how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. The agency he charged with the task of making a recommendation – the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – advised rescheduling marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III  under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Substances listed under Schedule III of the CSA are defined as having potential for abuse less than Schedules I or II and have a currently accepted medical use in the United States. Schedule I controlled substances are described as having an unacceptable lack of safety, a high potential for abuse/addiction, and currently have no accepted medical use in treatment in the USA – which is certainly not the case these days.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has final say on drug scheduling decisions and at this point one has not been made.

In recent months, various lawmakers and law enforcers have been banding together to apply pressure on the DEA to get cracking and implement the HHS recommendation. Some are wanting more – for example, a group of senators led by Elizabeth Warren and John Fetterman have urged the DEA to fully deschedule rather than down-schedule marijuana.

Most recently, a collective of  former police chiefs, sheriffs, federal and state prosecutors, and correctional officials have put their names to a letter to President Biden calling on his Administration to reclassify marijuana from a schedule I to a schedule III substance.

Given 38 states have some sort of program in place for recreational and/or medical cannabis access, they argue that conflict between federal and state laws has allowed an unregulated cannabis market to flourish across the United States, which has also provided a foothold for organized crime.

“We believe that reclassification under schedule III would be an important step to help both federal and state law enforcement better prioritize limited public safety resources,” states the letter. “They can focus efforts on working together to combat the harms that arise from unregulated cannabis markets.”

The primary signature on the letter is that of Ronal W. Serpas, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration. The group, which boasts 200 members hailing from around the country from all divisions of law enforcement, urges changes to laws and practices that more effectively fight crime while reducing unnecessary imprisonment.

“We aim to build a smarter and stronger criminal justice system by replacing ineffective policies with new, modern practices that reduce both crime and incarceration.”

 Dozens of current and former US law enforcement leaders have added their voices to the call for rescheduling marijuana.  Read More