White House Says Biden ‘Has Always’ Supported Medical Cannabis Legalization

The White House press secretary said on Friday that President Biden “has always supported the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes” despite having championed legislation that fueled the war on drugs.

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President Joe Biden (D) “has always” supported legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a briefing on Friday. The statement came days after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a historic recommendation to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that cannabis be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III under federal law.

“The president asked the secretary of HHS and also the attorney general to initiate the administrative process to review how marijuana is scheduled,” Jean-Pierre said.

“The administration’s process is an independent process — I want to be very clear on that — that is led by HHS and DOJ. It is going to be very much guided by evidence,” she said. “I’m not going to comment on that. I want to be also clear on that piece. So I would refer you all to HHS.”

“Look, the president has always supported the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. He’s been very clear about that, where appropriate, consistent with medical and scientific evidence. That is why it is important for this review — this independent review that is going to be, again, guided by evidence — to go through.” — Jean-Pierre, in a statement

Notably — and despite Jean-Pierre’s statements — President Biden has not “always” supported the reform of cannabis laws. As noted by Marijuana Moment, the president has championed many pieces of anti-drug legislation throughout his political career, including efforts to ramp up drug war enforcement in the 1990s.


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