US: Congressional lawmakers want Biden to end international cannabis ban

A bipartisan duo of congressional lawmakers filed a resolution on Friday imploring President Joe Biden to wield his influence to get the United Nations (UN) to end the international ban on cannabis by removing the plant from the list of controlled substances in a global drug treaty.

Reps. Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the measure as UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) wrapped up meetings for its 65th session this week in Vienna. CND in 2020 adopted a proposal to delete cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention, but it currently remains in Schedule I, precluding member nations from legalizing the plant. Unlike in the U.S., Schedule IV is the strictest international drug category, whereas Schedule I is the most restrictive federal classification.

The concurrent resolution as filed expresses “the sense of Congress that the United States representative to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs should use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to seek to de-schedule cannabis from Schedule I of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961.”

The measure also calls on U.S. officials to press the UN to “expunge and forgive penalties relating to cannabis for prior offenders, and treat cannabis as a commodity similar to other agricultural commodities.”

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