Marianne Williamson, a 2024 Democratic presidential candidate, sharply criticized the Biden administration and Congress for slow-walking marijuana reform, accusing lawmakers of “hypocrisy” for failing to legalize cannabis at the same time that they’re privately using illegal drugs.
At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Thursday, Williamson took questions on her drug policy platform, reiterating her commitment to legalizing marijuana and psychedelics therapy if elected, while slamming the protracted marijuana scheduling review process that President Joe Biden directed.
Don Murphy, a lobbyist with the Marijuana Leadership Campaign, specifically asked Williamson to weigh in on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which was recently confirmed with the release of hundreds of documents detailing the agency’s scientific findings.
“One of the first things I would do is deschedule marijuana. It is ridiculous. Deschedule it—not only let everyone out of a prison who was there on marijuana-related charges, but also expunge those records,” the candidate replied.
“That’s my plan,” she said, proceeding to mock the Biden administration’s review.
“Oh, there’s a 200-page document [from HHS] saying we’ve been lied to about marijuana,” she said sarcastically. “Can you believe it?’”
“How long do you think it’s going to take? Isn’t that interesting?” Williamson said. “Let me tell you what you have with me: a freaking signature of the president of the United States.”
She then ridiculed the idea that Congress would follow-up on the rescheduling recommendation with “hearings about marijuana.”
“Do you know how many of those people do drugs?” she said. “The hypocrisy of this situation.”
Later, Howard Wooldrige of Citizens Opposing Prohibition, a retired police officer, also asked the candidate about her drug policy stance, saying while he appreciates her proposal to broadly decriminalize currently illicit substances, the unregulated market would still be able to capitalize off it without regulating the supply.
“I hope that you will look at my drug policy because it’s absolutely that,” Williamson replied. “You start with decriminalization, prepare a plan for legalization, and you have to partner with harm reduction. So there’s a lot to do. We can’t just go in immediately, go over to legalization.”
She went on to discuss racial disparities in drug criminalization and said “this entire policy is riddled with injustice.”
“Most traditional politicians won’t even touch” drug policy reform, she said. “That’s the problem. Most traditional politicians will not discuss the most important issues that we face.”
Williamson has one of the most ambitious reform agendas of the remaining 2024 presidential candidates, and she’s distinguished her platform with unique proposals, including redirecting funds away from drug criminalization to fund a “national network” of free psychedelic therapeutic services,” for example.
“The War on Drugs has completely failed to alleviate the problem it supposedly set out to solve,” she said last month. “It has only created more problems, fueling mass incarceration and violence at home and abroad.”
Image element courtesy of Matt Johnson.
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