These U.S. governors are urging President Biden to reschedule cannabis

reschedule cannabis in front of white house

Advocates of the plant have been on the edge of their seats ever since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended the government reschedule cannabis, moving it from Schedule I to Schedule III. Now, the governors of six states are adding their voices to the chorus in favor of reform.

This week, the governors of Colorado, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Louisiana sent a formal letter to President Joe Biden urging his administration to follow through with rescheduling by year’s end. The call to action argues that rescheduling will have multiple benefits—and put the federal government in line with public opinion.

“Rescheduling cannabis aligns with a safe, regulated product that Americans can trust,” the letter reportedly said. “As governors, we might disagree about whether recreational cannabis legalization or even cannabis use is a net positive, but we agree that the cannabis industry is here to stay, the states have created strong regulations, and supporting the state-regulated marketplace is essential for the safety of the American people.”

Cannabis is legal in a vast majority of the U.S., but its Schedule I status has led to a plethora of challenges for operators. One of the most consequential is 280E, a section of the tax code that forbids law-abiding marijuana businesses from making common deductions. According to the governors’ letter, the decision to reschedule cannabis would eliminate the 280E barrier and help the market thrive.

“Economists estimate that this will save $1.8 billion per year by shifting cannabis companies to a standard federal corporate rate of 21% versus the up to 80% effective tax rate they face now,” the letter said.

The governors also point to evidence showing a correlation between cannabis access and a reduction in opioid abuse, saying the plant could help save lives and repair communities.

“In our 50 states, we have seen first hand the devastation born by the opioid epidemic. We need real solutions to our addiction epidemic,” they wrote.

The letter also discusses the need for regulated marijuana, putting consumer safety at the forefront.

“If people want the product, they will procure the product, as they always have,” the letter reads. “So, it seems obvious and sensible to us to make cannabis as safe as it can be for adult consumers while simultaneously protecting our children. The state-regulated marketplace does just that. If the state-legal marketplace doesn’t survive,  then we will see unsafe products on every street corner.”

The letter ends by noting rescheduling is “a win for states’ rights,” applauding the HHS for recognizing the ability of legal states to create their own fully functioning regulated markets. 

“Plainly, supporting the state-regulated cannabis industry makes sense,” the governors concluded.

President Biden has yet to respond publicly to the governor’s call to action. Still, with an election less than a year away, Washington insiders predict action will be taken sooner than later. It’s likely only a matter of time before a decision is made, and cannabis advocates are waiting with bated breath to see how and if rescheduling unfolds.

Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, Cannabis and Tech Today, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter