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Opinion

Biden Admin to Loosen Marijuana Laws, But Critics Say It’s Merely ‘Symbolic’

via 60 Minutes

President Joe Biden’s administration plans to move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), which could reduce tax burdens for legal cannabis businesses and potentially change law enforcement’s approach to marijuana.

Some believe this move will benefit the cannabis industry, while others argue it’s merely symbolic and won’t address federal restrictions that hinder private sellers and growers.

“If it’s going to be finalized at schedule III, it’s going to be the moment that the industry can turn the corner and we begin to see the growth in the cannabis space amongst the legal operators that we’ve been waiting on for so long,” senior vice president of public affairs for the U.S. Cannabis Council David Culver said. (Trending: Trans Athlete Breaks College Record After Joining Women’s Team)

“Classifying it as Schedule III would make every existing state cannabis law that’s currently inconsistent with federal law as equally inconsistent going forward. So, it doesn’t solve any of the problems before it,” deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml) Paul Armentano said.

“It needs to be rescheduled for logistical reasons, for practical reasons, because we have a system right now where the majority of states are choosing to regulate marijuana as a legal commodity through their own state-specific systems, and that act is not permitted for any substance that is in the CSA. That is only permitted for substances that are not scheduled,” he added.

Critics also warn that lowering the classification could lead to increased commercialization and glamorization of marijuana, potentially impacting public health.

Additionally, recent studies have shown a rise in marijuana and hallucinogen use among young adults, with concerns about addiction and mental health problems associated with high-potency cannabis.

“It’s going to ramp up commercialization, it’s going to ramp up the marketing and the glamorization of marijuana,” president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Kevin Sabet said.

“It’s going to do that both in a practical way with this deducting expenses, and it’s going to do so in a global way, by just sending the message that this is harmless.”

“A report by the United Nations found that in the past two decades, the proportion of people seeking treatment for cannabis addiction has risen in all world regions apart from Africa,” Tom Freeman, director of the addiction and mental health group at the U.K.’s University of Bath said.

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