The Biden administration’s recommendation last week for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reschedule marijuana marked one of its most significant steps related to the president’s ambitious campaign promise to decriminalize cannabis use.
But advocates and policy experts say rescheduling marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not address the plethora of racial justice issues caused by current cannabis laws.
“Rescheduling doesn’t address … the harm to marginalized communities,” said Natacha Andrews, executive director for the National Association of Black Cannabis Lawyers.
“It doesn’t address the over policing, it doesn’t address the immigration issues, it doesn’t address the access to federal services, and it’s not in alignment with what 38 states have done to regulate and legalize.”
Under its current scheduling, marijuana is rated at the most stringent level — as a Schedule I controlled substance — on par with methamphetamines and more severe than fentanyl.