Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” was asked about the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act — proposed federal legislation to legalize cannabis.
Dr. Murthy acknowledged there are “some benefits” to medical marijuana but added there are “harms that we have to consider” when lawmakers craft policy. The surgeon general doesn’t think there is “value” to society in incarcerating people for cannabis use. “When it comes to decriminalization, I don’t think that there is value to individuals or to society to lock people up for marijuana useRX bottles, and treating it like medicine.
“I don’t think that serves anybody well,” continued Dr. Murthy. “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.”
The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act is backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and fellow Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (OR), and Cory Booker (NJ). The bill 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.