The head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Xavier Becerra, said Friday that the Biden administration is committed to supporting evidence-based policies for marijuana as it works to complete a review of federal cannabis scheduling as directed by the president, reported Marijuana Moment.
Speaking at an event on overdose prevention Friday, Becerra was asked about drug decriminalization efforts in general. He replied that it was not under the HHS’s jurisdiction to make policy decisions, but that the government will not be using “20th-century modalities and ways of thinking to drive what we do if we have evidence that tells us we go a different direction.”
“We would not be the ones who would be proposing [decriminalization], but we certainly would weigh in on any issue involving decriminalization of any controlled substance,” he said.
Becerra, a former congressman and California’s attorney general who has supported cannabis reform, said that his agency was intending to rely on science and evidence.
“That will guide what we do—and we hope that will guide what the federal government does,” he said.
Becerra has said in the past that the HHS would review the status of cannabis as a Schedule I drug as well as undertake a scientific review of the plant, especially after Biden’s pardons of federal cannabis prisoners. He added that he's already discussed the issue with the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Marijuana Moment reported that when speaking on drug policy in general Becerra said that “at the end of the day, we should all be about keeping people alive and letting those people thrive.”
“At HHS, we took a turn with our new strategies on drug overdose and drug use, because we think at the end of the day, each one of our loved ones deserves a chance to, as I said, stay alive and thrive,” Becerra said.
© 2023 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Meet the biggest cannabis industry players and make deals that will push the industry forward.
Featuring live company presentations, insider panels, and unmatched access to networking, the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is where cannabis executives and entrepreneurs meet.
Join us April 11-12, 2023 at Fontainebleau Miami Beach in sunny Florida.