During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said there are “some benefits” to cannabis from a medical perspective but also “some harms that we have to consider” when lawmakers craft policy.
Further, the surgeon general said he doesn’t think there is “value” to society by incarcerating people for cannabis use.
“I don’t think that serves anybody well. But I do think that in terms of our approach to marijuana, I worry that when we don’t let science guide our process in policy-making—and as surgeon general that’s my role is to work with policy-makers to work with members in the community and the general public to help people understand what science tells us and where you have gaps, to help fill those gaps with research and with honest inquiry.”—Murthy in a “State of the Union” interview, July 18, 2021
The remarks came in response to a question by “State of the Union” host Dana Bash about the recent introduction of federal legislation—the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act—to legalize cannabis.
The bill, backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and fellow Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (OR), and Cory Booker (NJ), would deschedule cannabis, expunge cannabis-related criminal records, allow incarcerated people to petition for resentencing, and establish social equity cannabis grant programs funded by a new federal cannabis tax. The proposal would also allow some states to continue prohibiting cannabis but would not allow those states to criminalize cannabis transport in their borders if it was headed to legal markets.
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