The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Thursday issued a statement saying that as president, the candidate would move to reclassify cannabis from its status as a Schedule 1 federally-controlled substance.
We Should Make It Easier To Study Marijuana
“Marijuana is already being used for medical purposes in states across the country, and it has the potential for even further medical use,” said senior Clinton policy advisor Maya Harris in a statement. “As Hillary Clinton has said throughout this campaign, we should make it easier to study marijuana so that we can better understand its potential benefits, as well as its side effects.”
The announcement from the Clinton campaign came on the same day as an announcement from the Drug Enforcement Agency that it would not implement the changes sought by two Democratic governors in 2011 to downgrade cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug. The current classification places cannabis alongside such substances as heroin and LSD, among others, as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
Acting DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg announced the DEA’s decision, rejecting the notion that the agency’s decision was based on fear or ideology.
“This decision isn’t based on danger. This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine,” he said, “and it’s not.”
“If the scientific understanding about marijuana changes — and it could change — the decision could change,” he continued. “It certainly would be odd to rely on science when it suits us and ignore it otherwise.”
Clinton is not the only candidate to come out in support of rethinking the government’s policy towards cannabis: former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the nominee for the Libertarian party, has also advocated for reform of the nation’s cannabis laws.
“On the recreational side, I have always maintained that legalizing marijuana will lead to overall less substance abuse because it’s so much safer than everything else that’s out there starting with alcohol,” Johnson has stated.
The campaign of Clinton — who leads her Republican Party opponent Donald Trump by almost 8 points in Pollster.com’s aggregate of public-opinion polling — made clear that the candidate would pursue a rescheduling immediately upon her swearing-in should she be elected president.
“As president, Hillary will build on the important steps announced today by rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance,” her campaign’s statement said. “She will also ensure Colorado, and other states that have enacted marijuana laws, can continue to serve as laboratories of democracy.”
Several states around the country have already taken steps to lower penalties on cannabis: Illinois, the third-largest state in the country, recently enacted historic legislation that significantly reduced the penalties associated with cannabis possession and use.