The Marijuana Justice Coalition and Cannabis Freedom Alliance say: “Now is the time to end federal marijuana criminalization, Mr. President, not to rebrand it.”
Washington, DC: The leading coalitions for comprehensive reform, the Marijuana Justice Coalition and the Cannabis Freedom Alliance, have released a joint letter calling for President Biden to support removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.
This new letter comes just days after a bipartisan congressional letter was sent to the President along the same lines, led by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), David Joyce (R-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Brian Mast (R-FL) and 27 other members of Congress.
The new letter in part reads:
Any action to move marijuana to another CSA schedule rather than removing it would simply maintain federal criminalization of these programs, licensed companies, and individuals operating in a fully legal manner under existing state rules and regulations. Further, this mere change of scheduling classification as opposed to descheduling would not alleviate existing distrust in law enforcement around cannabis given the supermajority public support for ending criminalization.
For those reasons and more, we sincerely request that you oppose merely rescheduling cannabis under the CSA and instead urge you to deschedule the substance entirely, allowing state-based regulatory programs to function as intended without unnecessary federal interference. We further urge you to use your influence to encourage Congress to pass comprehensive marijuana descheduling legislation that includes a well-thought-out plan for reasonable federal regulation and for implementing interstate commerce that protects public health and the ability for small businesses to thrive in the emerging legal marketplace.
Now is the time to end federal marijuana criminalization, Mr. President, not to rebrand it.
You can read the full letter HERE.
Justin Strekal, founder of Better Organizing to Win Legalization and a member of the Marijuana Justice Coalition, said:
“Never before has ending marijuana criminalization enjoyed this level of organized cross-ideological support. Thanks to leadership from the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus and leaders like those in the Marijuana Justice Coalition and Cannabis Freedom Alliance, prohibition will soon be a thing of the past,”
“It is critical for the President and his administration to recognize that now is the time for them to seize the moment and deliver a win for the American People in the form of a rational and just cannabis policy future,”
“At this point, not doing so, should be considered political malpractice.”
Key aspects surrounding the effort:
- The harms of criminalization reverberate throughout our society and economy, depriving individuals of their full ability to participate in their communities
- As President Biden committed to the American people on the campaign trail in 2019, he supports “decriminalizing recreational marijuana use”
- The definition of decriminalization requires that there be no criminal penalties associated with simple possession, therefore the only way for President Biden to keep his campaign promise would be to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, or at minimum issue guidance directives for federal enforcement agencies to treat is as unscheduled, as the other scheduled statuses maintain criminal penalties for possession without a specialized prescription
More on the coalitions:
The Marijuana Justice Coalition
Founded in 2018, the Marijuana Justice Coalition comprises of drug policy-focused organizations, in addition to civil rights, criminal justice, immigration, and directly impacted-led organizations united in the goal of passing federal marijuana reform that both acknowledges the disproportionate harm faced by Black, brown, and low-income communities, and works toward repairing this harm.
In the 116th Congress, the Marijuana Justice Coalition led the historic passage of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act (H.R. 3884) in the House. This marked the first time a chamber of Congress voted to deschedule marijuana. In the 117th Congress, the Coalition was once again successful in passing the MORE Act (H.R. 3617) in the House marking the first time a descheduling bill was passed in a non-lame duck session of Congress.
The Coalition continues to work toward the successful passage of a comprehensive marijuana bill in Congress that legalizes marijuana and centers the people most impacted by prohibition. This work includes collaborating with the Senate on the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which builds upon the social justice provisions of the MORE Act.
You can find out more about the Marijuana Justice Coalition HERE.
The Cannabis Freedom Alliance
The Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) seeks to end the prohibition and criminalization of cannabis in the United States in a manner consistent with helping all Americans achieve their full potential and limiting the number of barriers that inhibit innovation and entrepreneurship in a free and open market.
The CFA and its members have previously endorsed the States Reform Act, the first descheduling bill introduced by a Republican member of Congress to include criminal legal reforms that address past harms to Americans who have been previously charged under the criminalization of marijuana.
You can find out more about the Cannabis Freedom Alliance HERE.
Better Organizing to Win Legalization works to unify the public, interest groups, and policymakers behind a comprehensive approach to marijuana legalization and justice for those who have been harmed under its criminalization.
Better Organizing to Win Legalization focuses on the slow boring of bringing together ideologically diverse stakeholders who are interested in common goals when it comes to marijuana policy reform.