The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is ready to review cannabis' status as a Schedule I drug following President Biden’s historic announcement that he will pardon federal cannabis possession convictions, said the agency's Secretary Xavier Becerra on Friday.
"I think you're going to find that we're going to move as quickly as we can, but, at the end of the day science is going to take us to a solution," Becerra told reporters, according to the Florida Phoenix.
"The president was very clear—he wants this done as quickly as possible," Becerra said. "It's not new science, but there's lot of information to gather because, in many states, marijuana has been legalized for either medical purposes or recreational purposes."
He added that the Food and Drug Administration would conduct a review of the plant's federal scheduling status. Becerra, who was in Florida to discuss Medicare pricing, has already discussed the issue with FDA Commissioner Robert Califf.
On Thursday, Biden also urged governors to follow suit and pardon those sitting in state prisons for weed possession. While some, like North Carolina's Gov. Roy Cooper (D), have taken steps in that direction, others strongly oppose it.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott's stance is that he will not allow pardons in the Lone Star State.
"Texas is not in the habit of taking criminal justice advice from the leader of the defund police party and someone who has overseen a criminal justice system run amuck with cashless bail and a revolving door for violent criminals," stated Renae Eze, Abbott's spokesperson. "The Governor of Texas can only pardon individuals who have been through the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles system with a recommendation for pardon."
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