The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee is considering a resolution that would urge the federal government to deschedule cannabis as a controlled substance. The resolution notes that 38 U.S. states and four territories regulate cannabis for medical use and that 21 states, two territories and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for adult use.
The resolution also points out that the World Health Organization has called for cannabis to be removed from the most restrictive category of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 and that the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs has also voted to reclassify cannabis under the convention.
“Rescheduling cannabis will establish an important step in harmonizing Federal and State policy to improve public health, reduce criminal justice expenditures, raise tax revenue and usher in economic growth; and … removing cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance will facilitate medical research, ensure patient access and remove Federal prohibitions.” — HB 420 text
The resolution also takes aim at federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws which result in nonviolent cannabis offenders often “serving long sentences often disproportionate to their crime.”
The legislation calls for the U.S. Attorney General to “initiate a review process to consider available evidence and change a controlled substance’s schedule classification” and for the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Health and Human Services to “carry out a review process to reschedule a controlled substance.”
The resolution is sponsored by 17 state lawmakers. Pennsylvania does have a medical cannabis program but has not legalized cannabis for adult use.
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