We must call on the Biden Admin to decriminalize marijuana. Rescheduling is not enough.

Participate in the Public Comment Process Now to Support Federal Marijuana Decriminalization.

The Biden Administration’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has recently proposed to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. This proposal, which would continue marijuana criminalization under federal law, conflicts with President Biden’s 2020 campaign promises to decriminalize marijuana use and expunge related records.

Before making a final decision on marijuana’s status, the DEA is allowing the public a limited period of time to submit feedback. Now is the time for those who support marijuana decriminalization to tell the Biden Administration that rescheduling marijuana is insufficient and to support removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) entirely.

In partnership with United for Marijuana Decriminalization, DPA has created a tool to help members of the public submit feedback directly to the DEA on its proposal to move marijuana to Schedule III. This tool will be available through the public comment period which ends July 22, 2024 at 11:59 pm ET.

End the Federal Criminalization of Marijuana for All.

Seventy percent of adults believe that marijuana should be legal.

Source: Gallup poll

Twenty-four states and D.C. have legalized marijuana for adult use.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

In 2021, over 80% of people sentenced for federal marijuana charges were Black & Latinx.

Source: ACLU
A marijuana plant.

Rescheduling Is Not a Policy Solution. 

President Biden rightly called marijuana criminalization a failure. However, rescheduling marijuana would continue this failure. As long as it remains under the CSA, people could be threatened by federal criminal penalties.

What Is The Controlled Substances Act and Why Must Marijuana Be Removed From It?

The CSA regulates certain drugs under existing federal law into one of five schedules. As a result of its placement in any schedule of the CSA, marijuana is criminalized. Currently, marijuana is a “Schedule 1” drug. This means that the U.S. government has labeled marijuana as a drug with a high abuse risk. They claim it has no safe, accepted medical use. We know from research and anecdotal experience that people find many benefits to using marijuana.

Moving marijuana to a less harsh schedule, such as Schedule III, under the CSA would officially acknowledge the medical benefits of marijuana. However, medical and adult use in legal states would still be illegal under federal law. There would still be penalties for personal use and selling marijuana with or without a license. This includes mandatory minimum sentences. Noncitizens could still be deported simply for working in the marijuana industry, even in legal states. People could still be denied assistance for housing and food if they have a previous conviction.

Congress and President Biden have a responsibility to end federal marijuana criminalization and its harms.

President Biden recognizes that criminalizing marijuana has harmed lives, especially in Black and brown communities. But moving marijuana to Schedule III alone cannot undo the damage caused by decades of federal prohibition.

President Biden must take meaningful action to end federal marijuana criminalization. He must:

  • issue broader pardons and give back benefits to people and communities who lost them as a result of a marijuana conviction;
  • call on the Department of Justice to issue new guidance to ease federal marijuana enforcement;
  • call on Congress to pass federal marijuana legislation that would decriminalize marijuana and completely remove it from the CSA, and establish programs to repair the harms marijuana criminalization has caused, particularly in Black and brown communities that have suffered the most from racially discriminatory enforcement.

Tell the Biden Admin you support federal marijuana decrim.

Submit Public Comment Now!
A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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