Law Enforcement Leaders Unite, Send Urgent Request to Biden

( – The Biden Administration is facing calls to loosen the laws on marijuana. A group from the law enforcement community is behind the initiative. They say current drug laws are bringing people into the legal system unnecessarily — while growing conflicts between state and federal laws are making life harder for police and courts.

On February 22, Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration (LEL), a group that represents current and former cops, prosecutors, and correctional officers, released an open letter to President Biden calling on him to move marijuana from Schedule I of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to the less tightly regulated Schedule III. Reclassifying the drug as Schedule III would allow it to be legally prescribed. The letter points out that public attitudes have changed over the decades since the act was passed. It also notes that there’s now a conflict between federal and state laws.

Federal law still classes marijuana together with hard drugs like heroin or cocaine, while 24 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized it for recreational use. The group says this “makes it difficult for law enforcement to respond effectively.”

The letter comes on top of pressure from senators who want marijuana removed from the CSA schedule altogether. On January 11, senators, all Democrats, wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) calling for the drug to be effectively decriminalized in federal law. They argued that the current situation creates “a devastating effect on our communities” and no longer has popular support.

Polling suggests that over two-thirds of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana. Public opinion doesn’t always matter much to the federal government, but when cops and prosecutors are saying the current law doesn’t work, that could be harder to ignore. Even the DEA is now reviewing the drug’s Schedule I status and is expected to render a decision in the coming weeks.

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