President Biden Comes Under Pressure From All Sides Over His Cannabis Legalization Stance
Adding to the chorus of lawmakers pressuring President Joe Biden on cannabis legalization, on Monday Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) urged the President via Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) to take unilateral action on cannabis policy. “Biden needs to lean on his executive authority now. He has been delaying and underutilizing it so far,” AOC tweeted “There is an enormous amount he can do on climate, student debt, immigration, cannabis, health care, and more. Time is running out—we need to move and use alternative paths.” The congresswoman was among the first to suggest that Biden use executive authority to advance marijuana reform.
Prior to Ocasio-Cortez's plea, not her first, Republican lawmakers Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Don Young (R-AK), both co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, sent a letter to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris recently urging the administration to reschedule cannabis under federal law.
“As both legislative chambers continue to debate the merits of various common-sense proposals on the issue of cannabis reform and a complete end to federal prohibition garners more and more bipartisan support, your administration’s absence from these debates and lack of action, which is inconsistent with previous statements you have made on the topic, is of serious concern,” the lawmakers wrote. In addition, they noted that further, cannabis’ Schedule I classification “puts the U.S. far behind many of our international partners and scientific competitors.”
That same day, during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing for Biden’s nominee to serve as director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) spoke about the inconsistency of marijuana driving policies in states across the U.S and asked for federal marijuana standards to measure impaired driving, reported Marijuana Moment.
“We first legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, which I opposed in the beginning,” Hickenlooper said. “I thought there would be all kinds of increases in teenage driving, teenage consumption, frequency of use. We haven’t seen any of that (but we do recognize that we don’t have a good way to measure intoxication level),” he added.
Hickenlooper noted that NHTSA has not released an updated report on cannabis and driving since 2017, and asked Biden’s nominee Steven Cliff if he would commit to “develop a federal marijuana-impaired driving standard so that we can have something as a national standard.”
Regardless of pressure from his own and pleas from across the aisle, President Biden remains either silent or negative in the face of his inaction on the topic of cannabis legalization, which is supported by nearly three-quarters of the U.S. adult population.
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