Biden OKs Marijuana Reclassification

May 16, 2024

Bright sunshine and getting-warm temperatures just past the noon hour Thursday here in California’s Central Valley — the summer routine still playing out early in heat and color.

In keeping with the subject line from yesterday’s post on my first encounter with the wondrous weed long, long ago and far, far away, Joe Biden this morning continued the pattern to take marijuana off the horror list of dangerous drugs and into the help-mate status it deserves — this just six weeks after the DEA announced a move to reclassify pot, though, still illegal:

Details via The Washington Post:

The Justice Department, after receiving the go-ahead from the White House, will publish an official notice, opening a two-month period for the public to comment on the proposed change. The rule reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule III controlled substance would not go into effect until afterward.

Marijuana would not be legalized federally, but would move out of the Schedule I category reserved for tightly controlled substances such as heroin and LSD. If the rule goes into effect, marijuana will join a category including prescription drugs such as ketamine, anabolic steroids and testosterone.

Biden, in his statement, described it as an important move “toward reversing long-standing inequities,” citing earlier mass pardons he has offered for federal marijuana possession convictions. The video Thursday marked the first time Biden explicitly supported reclassification. Vice President Harris called marijuana’s Schedule I status “absurd” in March.

The move comes a little more than two weeks after Attorney General Merrick Garland recommended to the White House that marijuana be reclassified as a Schedule III substance. The recommendation was applauded by cannabis supporters who for decades have complained that the federal government exaggerated the dangers of the drug.

Marijuana’s Schedule I status means it is tightly controlled because the federal government sees no proven medical value and a high potential for abuse. Stripping that designation would provide researchers easier access to cannabis and allow marijuana companies to deduct business expenses from their tax bills — a boon for an industry that has struggled because of high operating costs and competition from the illicit market.

“Our ultimate goal is federal legalization, and we see Schedule III as a necessary and critical step along the way,” Edward Conklin, executive director of industry group U.S. Cannabis Council, said in a statement.

Of course, asshole Republicans will fight this tooth-and-nail. If T-Rump is re-elected (horror of horrors!), most-likely he’d quickly reverse the whole situation, maybe, too, one of his promised deeds on his infamous, ‘first day‘ on the job.

Some background info via Forbes, also this morning:

24. That’s how many states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, starting with Colorado and Washington in 2014. A total of 44 states have legalized medical marijuana (medical use is restricted to CBD oil in Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin).

A majority of Americans support legalization for both medical and recreational marijuana use, according to multiple recent polls. One Pew Research Center survey released in March found 57% of respondents believe marijuana should be legal in both cases, while another 32% supported legalization for medical use only—11% of respondents did not support legalization. Those numbers are roughly steady with a 2022 Pew survey that asked the same question, when 59% of respondents supported legalization for medical and recreational use, another 30% supported it for medical use alone and 10% opposed legalization. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released in 2017, three-fifths of respondents supported legalization, including 72% of Democrats and 37% of Republicans.

A group of marijuana-affiliated stocks soared on reports of a proposed reclassification late last month, and continued their upward trajectory Thursday. Shares of Canopy Growth Corp., a Nasdaq-listed cannabis company, jumped over 18% after Biden’s post, to just below $12 per share. Shares of Tilray Brands, a pharmaceutical company specialized in marijuana, jolted nearly 8% to just over $2, while Aurora Cannabis Inc saw a near-12% increase to nearly $8 per share.

Wall Street is in on the jump, shift in time 50 years later — ha, ha.

Or longer — also from long ago, The Beatles, “Got To Get You Into My Life,” a love ballad:

For marijuana — from Rolling Stone:

This sunny, soulful track from 1966’s Revolver LP is generally thought of as one of the Fab Four’s many upbeat love songs – but according to Paul McCartney, the love object in this particular instance is a weed, not a woman.
“‘Got to Get You into My Life’ was one I wrote when I had first been introduced to pot,” he told Barry Miles for the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now.
“I’d been a rather straight working-class lad but when we started to get into pot it seemed to me to be quite uplifting. It didn’t seem to have too many side effects like alcohol or some of the other stuff, like pills, which I pretty much kept off. I kind of liked marijuana. I didn’t have a hard time with it and to me it was mind-expanding, literally mind-expanding. So ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ is really a song about that, it’s not to a person, it’s actually about pot. It’s saying, ‘I’m going to do this. This is not a bad idea.’”

Get real — redesignate as legal, or not, yet here we are once again…

(Illustration out front: ‘Joe Biden Painting,’ by Billy Jackson, and found here.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.