Kamala Harris will host a marijuana reform event with Fat Joe

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WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris will clasp nan administration's first nationalist arena connected marijuana betterment this week aft President Joe Biden addressed nan rumor arsenic 1 of his priorities successful past week's State of nan Union address.

Harris will convene a roundtable chat successful nan West Wing, featuring Grammy-nominated creator Fat Joe, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and individuals who received pardons for anterior cannabis convictions.

Harris’ main portfolio includes reproductive wellness care, weapon unit and voting rights, but she has consistently amplified criminal justness betterment since her years arsenic a territory lawyer successful California.  

Fat Joe.Fat Joe will beryllium portion of nan White House's roundtable connected marijuana reform.Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic

In his State of nan Union Thursday, Biden said that he had directed his “cabinet to reappraisal nan national classification of marijuana,” adding that he is besides “expunging thousands of convictions for nan specified possession, because nary 1 should beryllium jailed for simply using.”

Biden’s comments were notable, marking nan first clip he said astir nan effort to reschedule marijuana since he directed agencies successful October 2022 to analyse its classification wrong nan Drug Enforcement Agency. It was besides nan first clip Biden mentioned nan supplier during a reside arsenic captious arsenic an election-year State of nan Union.

Two aides adjacent to nan vice president, and an further root pinch acquainted pinch her role, said Harris will proceed to bring consciousness to nan rumor successful nan coming months, pinch events that item expungements — particularly arsenic nan reelection run seeks nan support of captious young voters and voters of color.

"Friday’s engagement will build connected nan Vice President’s efforts to uplift nan historical actions nan Biden-Harris Administration has taken to guarantee everyone has entree to opportunity, including by making nan criminal justness strategy much just. This will proceed successful nan weeks and months to come," a White House charismatic said.

The Biden run launched a halfway portion of that outreach effort successful its “Students for Biden-Harris” rollout earlier this week. While young group place plentifulness of issues that are astir important to them — including abortion access, nan system and weapon unit — cannabis betterment is besides a important concern.

According to a nationalist canvass commissioned by nan Coalition for Cannabis Scheduling Reform, nan overwhelming mostly of 18-to-25 year-old apt voters (65%) expressed support for Biden’s efforts to reschedule cannabis, and 70% of Americans support national marijuana legalization — nan highest percent ever.

The White House announced its awesome initiatives connected nan topic, including directing agencies to measure rescheduling nan drug, conscionable weeks earlier nan 2022 midterm elections. 

“Too galore lives person been upended because of our grounded attack to marijuana. It’s clip that we correct these wrongs,” Biden said successful a connection astatine nan time. 

In August, nan Department of Health and Human Services formally recommended that nan Department of Justice reclassify cannabis from Schedule 1 to 3, for nan first clip acknowledging nan aesculapian benefits of cannabis, which has been successful nan aforesaid class arsenic heroin and LSD since nan Controlled Substances Act was enacted successful 1971.

Drugs classified nether Schedule 1 are substances that officials opportunity person nary accepted shape of aesculapian usage and person a precocious imaginable for abuse. Marijuana ranks higher successful nan CSA than fentanyl and cocaine, contempt 40 states and Washington, D.C., having legalized immoderate shape of cannabis, for either recreational aliases aesculapian use.

The DEA has been conducting a reappraisal of nan HHS proposal for months but has yet to rumor an opinion, though 1 is expected this outpouring according to 2 sources pinch knowledge. Once that sentiment is issued, a nationalist reappraisal play is expected — a process that could return up to 60 days.

The grid-locked Congress could besides make immoderate advancement connected cannabis betterment this year, pinch Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer telling reporters past week that nan bipartisan SAFER Banking Act — a measure that would grow entree to accepted banking and financial institutions for ineligible cannabis businesses — could get a ballot connected nan level earlier nan November election.

Julie Tsirkin

Julie Tsirkin is a correspondent covering Capitol Hill.

Monica Alba

Monica Alba is simply a White House analogous for NBC News.