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A Senate Push to Deschedule Marijuana | WDIY Local News

Raphael Loquellano

Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman’s support for descheduling marijuana should come as little surprise. He’s been a longtime supporter of legalizing marijuana and has called for an end to the War on Drugs, which he’s consistently referred to as racist.

Senator Fetterman joined Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in writing a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administrator Anne Milgram this week. The letter calls for the removal of marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

A push last year from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services encouraged the rescheduling of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III in the CSA, which would lessen but not eliminate the criminal penalties associated with possession of the drug.

The letter argues, however, for a complete descheduling of marijuana. As the Senators write, simply rescheduling the drug to a different level of the CSA would be a large step forward, but “would not resolve the worst harms of the current system.”

The Senators go on to emphasize that “marijuana’s placement in the CSA has had a devastating impact on our communities and is increasingly out of step with state law and public opinion.”

According to a poll by Gallup, 70% of U.S. adults are in favor of marijuana legalization. This is a slight rise from where it consistently held in recent years, and is representative of majorities for all major demographic and party groups.

The Senators’ letter called for action by the Biden Administration, saying that this is the largest opportunity in a long time to decriminalize marijuana.

James is the News and Public Affairs Director for WDIY. He reports on stories in the Lehigh Valley and across the state which impact the region, along with managing WDIY's volunteers who help create the station's diverse line-up of public affairs programs.
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