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The head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says the agency remains committed to “expeditiously” carrying out a scientific review of marijuana as part of President Joe Biden’s scheduling directive last year—but he’s making clear that the final decision is up to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Bipartisan members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), led a letter to Biden in December, imploring the administration to take a clear position on federal marijuana descheduling. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra was copied on that letter and sent a response on Tuesday that was obtained by Marijuana Moment.
“Thank you for your letter to President Biden regarding the scheduling of marijuana. We appreciate your continued interest in this topic,” Becerra said.
Rather than address the main request from the lawmakers for the administration to “recognize the merits of full descheduling,” however, the top federal health official simply reiterated the department’s role in carrying out cannabis scheduling review.
“Consistent with the President’s direction, the Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) has initiated an administrative process to expeditiously review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law,” it says.
“In accordance with the process set forth in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the Department conducts a scientific and medical evaluation