TDR Exclusive – Rep. Nancy Mace Take on DEA Rescheduling and States Reform Act

The TDR Three Key Takeaways from Rep. Nancy Mace

  1. DEA proposes shifting marijuana from Schedule I to III, noting reduced abuse potential.
  2. Rep. Mace optimistic about DEA’s move impacting state cannabis laws.
  3. Rep. Mace advocates for States Reform Act over DEA’s limited rescheduling.

Yesterday we learned that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plans to reclassify marijuana, marking a significant policy change that acknowledges its medical benefits and lower abuse potential compared to some of the most harmful drugs in the nation, according to The Associated Press.

Under the new proposal, which awaits review by the White House Office of Management and Budget, marijuana would not be legalized for recreational use. Instead, it would shift from being a Schedule I drug — a category that includes heroin and LSD — to Schedule III, where it would join substances like ketamine and certain anabolic steroids. This change comes on the heels of a recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The proposed reclassification allows for public input and a review by an administrative judge before the DEA finalizes the new rule, despite support for legalization reaching new highs among the public, the DEA has not commented on these developments.

The reclassification of marijuana to Schedule III would still categorize it as a controlled substance, maintaining strict regulations, but it would reduce some obstacles, especially regarding taxation and research, which have been problematic under its Schedule I classification.

Critics, however, remain divided on the issue. Some view the change as unnecessary and potentially risky, while others, including Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, advocate for removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act entirely, likening its regulation to that of alcohol.

Following the announcement, Nancy Mace the Congresswoman from South Carolina appeared on the TDR Trade to Black Podcast to discuss her views. Initially, she expressed her excitement and then considered its implications at the state level. She mentioned, “I’ve reached out to my contacts back home in South Carolina to see how this will affect the Medical Compassionate Care Act that’s currently in progress.” This development is significant, as it prompts consideration of its potential to influence other state and federal legislation. She added, “State legislative members in South Carolina are very enthusiastic about this change.” As previously reported, the South Carolina House is now prepared to deliberate on the Medical Marijuana Bill at the state level.

When asked about her views on the future, she offered a compelling perspective on the current historical moment. She remarked, “I do think people are going to speak out about it. And if you’re against it, you’re on the wrong side of history. This is something that is widely supported in both red and blue states across the country.”

She added, “I think this will encourage those who have been advocating for change to intensify their efforts. Immediately after the announcement, I contacted State Senator Tom Davis and other senators who support medical cannabis in South Carolina. I believe it will urge state lawmakers to take proactive steps. This could be a positive development.” It is worth noting that Tom Davis, a Republican state senator from South Carolina, exemplifies the noteworthy bipartisan efforts occurring at both state and federal government levels.

Discussing the potential impact of federal progress on marijuana policy, she noted the changes might influence states that have been resistant to legalizing medical or recreational marijuana use. Drawing from her observations in her district in South Carolina, she highlighted the commonplace presence of marijuana. She pointed out, “You can smell it as you walk down certain streets in my district. It’s already a part of our community. So, we might as well implement regulations that include taxation and safeguards that protect children and individuals with terminal illnesses.” This approach, she suggested, could lead to more controlled and beneficial use of marijuana at the state level.

Returning to the federal level, is moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III sufficient? Rep. Mace believes a better solution is the States Reform Act. This act resembles how states manage alcohol sales. For example, in Montana, spirits cannot be purchased at Walmart, unlike beer and wine, while in California, spirits are available at Costco. She explains, “The States Reform Act is a bill that completely deschedules marijuana, because the only real long-term solution is to completely deschedule it and give states the leading role. This would prevent the federal government from imposing a one-size-fits-all policy on THC, allowing states to have a say.”

With it being an election year, time is of the essence, and Shadd Dales, host of the TDR podcast wanted to ask her take on what would happen if Donald Trump won the next election? She answered “I can’t speak for Donald Trump. I hope that he will endorse this process and endorse the rescheduling because it’s a step in the right direction. And I won’t speak for him, but I know in the past that he has supported medical cannabis. That was the middle ground that he took when he was president based on public statements. And so, of course, I obviously am supportive of that endeavor. And I hope that there will not be any roadblocks in any administration because this just makes the most sense.”

With the upcoming election, timing is critical. Shadd Dales, host of the TDR podcast, asked her opinion on the potential consequences if Donald Trump were to win the next election. She responded, “I can’t speak for Donald Trump. I hope that he will support this process and endorse the rescheduling because it’s a step in the right direction. I won’t speak for him, but I know from his past presidency, based on public statements, that he has supported medical cannabis. That was the compromise he chose. I support this effort, and I hope there will be no obstacles in any administration because this approach is the most sensible.”

When asked what actions people can take to help pass the States Reform Act, Rep. Nancy Mace encouraged proactive engagement: “Make appointments with your member of Congress, call and email them, flood their phones, and fill their offices with requests to support the States Reform Act.” Want to keep up to date with all of TDR’s research and news, subscribe to our daily Baked In newsletter.

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