One of Hillary Clinton’s top senior policy advisers said that the Democratic presidential nominee would reschedule marijuana if she gets elected in November.
Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug on the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that there are no accepted medical uses for the plant, and it has a high potential for abuse.
“We applaud the steps taken today by the Obama Administration to remove research barriers that have significantly limited the scientific study of marijuana,” Maya Harris, a senior policy adviser to Clinton’s campaign, said in a statement obtained by The Cannabist.
Harris continued (emphasis ours):
“Marijuana is already being used for medical purposes in states across the country, and it has the potential for even further medical use. As Hillary Clinton has said throughout this campaign, we should make it easier to study marijuana so that we can better understand its potential benefits, as well as its side effects.”
“As president, Hillary will build on the important steps announced today by rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance. She will also ensure Colorado, and other states that have enacted marijuana laws, can continue to serve as laboratories of democracy.”
The comments came as a reaction to Thursday’s announcement that the Drug Enforcement Administration would not reschedule marijuana as many had expected.
Moving marijuana to Schedule II would allow medical practitioners to prescribe it to patients across the US.
However, there are still doubts in the marijuana industry about whether moving the plant to Schedule II would actually be a positive development.
“Moving cannabis to Schedule II doesn’t address the social harms of prohibition,” Patrick Moen, a managing director at Privateer Holdings (a cannabis-focused private equity company), and a former DEA agent himself, told Business Insider. “It also doesn’t create a proper mechanism for patients who need access today.”
Seibo Shen, the CEO of VapeXhale, a vaporizer company, told Business Insider in an email that rescheduling marijuana is a “double-edged sword,” because it would “put the industry completely in the hands of big pharma companies.”
Some lawmakers, like Earl Blumenauer, a democratic congressman from Oregon, say that moving marijuana to Schedule II doesn’t go far enough.
“Americans have spoken, with a majority supporting full legalization,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “It’s not enough to remove some barriers to medical research. Marijuana shouldn’t be listed as Schedule I; it shouldn’t be listed at all.”
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