Six Democratic governors have sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging the administration to push the Drug Enforcement Administration to “reschedule” marijuana as a less dangerous Class III drug by the end of the year, a move that could be one of the biggest changes in federal drug policy in decades. The letter, sent Tuesday, was signed by Govs. Jared Polis of Colorado, Kathy Hochul of New York, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Wes Moore of Maryland, Jon Bel Edwards of Louisiana, and Phil Murphy of New Jersey.
With Republicans lining up in opposition to any rescheduling, marijuana policy could become an issue in the 2024 presidential election if the DEA moves to change the drug’s classification. That could prove a boost to the Biden campaign’s efforts to boost flagging support among young voters.
In October 2022, Biden asked the secretary of Health and Human Services “to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.” Biden also issued a pardon for all those convicted on federal charges of simple possession of marijuana and urged state governors to do the same.
The DEA currently classifies marijuana under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances such as heroin and LSD, considered to have a high likelihood of abuse and no medical uses.