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White House Drug Czar Signals President’s Support for Cannabis Reforms

White House Drug Czar Signals President’s Support for Cannabis Reforms

Rahul Gupta, the director of the Office of National Control Policy, has told a House Committee that the Biden Administration favors cannabis reforms. Gupta informed the committee that Biden supports the decriminalization of cannabis and acknowledges that the plant offers therapeutic benefits, reports Marijuana Moment.   

Gupta, in an appearance before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, signaled White House support for gradual reforms in the form of descheduling cannabis from its current Schedule 1 designation in the Controlled Substances Act. Gupta cited the waning impact that federal prohibition is having on curtailing the advancement of cannabis reforms across the country. 

President Biden, beleaguered by low polling numbers, is wise to champion cannabis reforms which are polling positively across the board in recent years. Cannabis reformers see cannabis legalization as a way to harness the support of younger voters. However, President Biden has stopped short of advocating full federal legalization, choosing to go for a more incremental approach.

Answering a question from Rep Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), Gupta said, “There is evidence to suggest that, in cases of certain chronic pain, cannabis can be efficacious,” signaling support for medical cannabis. 

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Gupta responded to Khanna’s point that federal law prohibits cannabis despite evidence of its medical efficacy, especially in light of the epidemic of opioid-related deaths. Opioids are currently listed as Schedule 2 substances, despite their increased overdose potential, which does not exist for cannabis. 

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, published on Wednesday, revealed that only 36 percent of respondents approve of the job Biden is doing as president of the United States. Hit by a perfect storm of crises such as high gas prices, inflation, the Covid-19 pandemic, and recent rulings from the politicized Supreme Court dominated by conservative activist justices, President Biden would be wise to loosen his position on federal cannabis legalization. Many cannabis reform activists believe such a move could bode well in returns during the upcoming mid-term elections, but few are holding their breath.