Though Marijuana Would Remain Illegal, Election-Year Decision To Reschedule Marijuana Would be a Boon for Pot Investors Pushing a Demonstrably Dangerous Drug

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) President Dr. Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug policy advisor to Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton, issued the following statement today in response to President Biden’s video announcement of recommendations aimed at loosening restrictions on marijuana, a psychoactive drug known to come with serious health and mental health consequences. 

“As we’ve maintained throughout this process, it’s become undeniable that politics, not science, is driving this decision and has been since the very beginning. This decision won’t legalize marijuana, and it won’t release anyone from prison or jail. It won’t expunge one record. But it will allow the pot industry to take tax deductions on their advertising expenses. This is setting the stage to create the Big Tobacco of our time. It will also surely send the message that marijuana is a safe drug and an approved medicine. 

“It should not be lost on anyone that a drug can be removed from Schedule I only if it has accepted medical use—raw, crude marijuana has never passed safety and efficacy protocols. There is no marijuana ‘product’ that can even be prescribed now because of this—so this move flies in the face of science and medicine. A drug isn’t medicine because it’s popular.

“Additionally, despite significant concerns being voiced by former U.S. Attorneys, the medical community, and law enforcement, the Administration has unilaterally reversed decades of precedent in the face of volumes of data confirming marijuana’s harmfulness. 

“The only winners here are the pot investors and companies who could have access to massive tax breaks to push a demonstrably harmful drug. Medical and scientific studies, as well as government data, have conclusively linked THC drugs with addiction, psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, suicidality, stroke, and IQ loss, among other impacts. We had hoped the Administration would prioritize expungements and encouraging additional marijuana research, but they’ve instead chosen to put politics and the addiction industry over people.

“Rescheduling marijuana during an election year makes it clear that the nation’s drug policy is being used to reverse bad polling trends with the principal targets of the pot industry, namely young people. Pot-profiteers have lobbied heavily to sell demonstrably harmful products, and now they will use this announcement to drive even more deliberate misinformation about these high-potency drugs to expand use and addiction.” 

SAM intends to oppose the Biden Administration’s rescheduling recommendation throughout the rule making and legal process.