A GOP congresswoman says that while she supports the push to federally reschedule marijuana, she is warning a top Biden administration official to refrain from taking steps to more broadly decriminalize other drugs.

At a hearing before the House Education and the Workforce Committee on Wednesday, Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) told U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra that the decision to move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is “really good welcoming news.” However, she cautioned against decriminalizing drugs in line with Oregon’s since-overturned law.

“Federal guidance has always been a nightmare [with respect to marijuana], and it’s more important than ever to create a safe and professional environment for one of the fastest growing industries in America,” she said. “This has proven to be a responsible process. But unlike Oregon’s approach, which was to decriminalize all drugs at the same time [and] was not a good plan.”

“If you’re familiar [with Oregon decriminalization experience], and as the United States is rapidly going toward classifying cannabis with its possible federal legalization, how can we ensure that that Measure 110 won’t be a mistake that’s made across the country?” she asked.

Becerra said he was aware of the voter-approved decriminalization initiative known as Measure 110, but he wasn’t familiar with the details.

Chavez-DeRemer gave the secretary a brief overview of the policy, while arguing that it led to “mass amounts of drugs on the streets and open market, and we were not helping the people who needed it most.” She asked him to “commit” to approaching future drug policy issues as the agency did with the cannabis scheduling review and not pursue broader decriminalization as took place in Oregon.

“We’re more than willing to work with you on some of these issues,” Becerra said. “Remember, the cannabis action has not yet been finalized. But we’re more than willing to work with you. We work based off of evidence, and so whatever we do has to be evidence-based.”

While President Joe Biden directed a scheduling review into marijuana that led to a Schedule III determination, the administration is not currently pursuing drug decriminalization. Progressive Democrats did file a bill to federally decriminalize drugs during the last Congresss, but it did not advance and has not since been reintroduced.

Becerra has previously made similar comments to lawmakers about the agency’s evidence-based approach as it relates to its cannabis scheduling review, defending the Schedule III conclusion.

Meanwhile, at Wednesday’s hearing, Chavez-DeRemer also promoted the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) 2.0 Act that she’s cosponsoring. The bill would end federal marijuana prohibition in legal states, legalize interstate cannabis commerce, normalize Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policy for the industry and contemplate a federal tax-and-regulate framework for the industry.

The congresswoman said it would “ensure that every state has its right to determine the best approach to cannabis within its borders.”

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The post GOP Congresswoman Applauds Marijuana Rescheduling But Urges Top Biden Official To Refrain From Decriminalizing Other Drugs appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

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