On October 6, 2022, President Biden issued a groundbreaking proclamation that pardons federal convictions for simple marijuana possession offenses. This presidential proclamation signals a significant shift in federal marijuana policy, aligning with the recent ballot initiatives by various states to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and to oversee the production, processing, and sale of the substance.
Despite marijuana remaining illegal at the federal level, over half of the states, including the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have legalized it for medical use, with an increasing number legalizing it for adult non-medical use. As of March 1, 2023, 21 states along with DC and Guam have removed state-imposed penalties for specified activities involving marijuana.
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 (MORE Act) in December 2020. This historic act aims to remove marijuana from the schedules of controlled substances, potentially harmonizing federal and state laws.
The Department of Justice has also updated its enforcement policy in response to these state initiatives, which may indicate a growing policy gap between federal and state regulations regarding marijuana. However, important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and underage sales are expected to remain steadfast, to protect youth and control substance abuse.
Moreover, the FDA has been actively involved in regulating cannabis and cannabis-derived products, such as approving drugs derived from marijuana to treat severe forms of epilepsy and issuing warnings against unapproved products.
Even as the landscape of marijuana legalization expands, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration continue to inform the public about the potential negative effects and risks associated with marijuana use.
For more detailed information, readers can access the original sources:
Statement from President Biden on Marijuana Reform
Recent Developments in Marijuana Law – CRS Reports
Justice Department Announces Update to Marijuana Enforcement Policy
The MORE Act: House Plans Historic Vote on Federal Marijuana Legalization
FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products: Q&A
What We Know about Marijuana – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Office of the Pardon Attorney | Presidential Proclamation on Marijuana
Know the Negative Effects and Risks of Marijuana Use | SAMHSA