Policy

Reid Not Sold on Recreational Marijuana Use

Democratic leader says he needs to know more about the subject

Recreational marijuana use is legal in four states and the District of Columbia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that he would not vote in favor of recreational marijuana use today and needed to know more about the argument for legalizing its use.

"I support medical marijuana 100 percent and I'm going to wait and see how the debate progresses on recreational use of marijuana," the Nevada Democrat said, according to a transcript that Las Vegas Sun reporter Megan Messerly posted on Twitter.

Reid addressed reporters on Tuesday while attending the opening of a FirstMed Health and Wellness Center health clinic in Las Vegas. Nevada is one of five states that will vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in November. 

"I'm very, very dubious and concerned now and people better start making their case to me," Reid said. "They haven't done that.

[Recreational Marijuana Headed to Ballot in Arizona]

The minority leader also said he was a "huge fan" of medical marijuana since he knows friends who have benefited from using it, referring to its use in combating pain and suffering and "extending life."

Last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration declined petitions to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2 drug, maintaining that marijuana does not have a legitimate medical use. 

"Based on the legal standards in the [Controlled Substances Act], marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance because it does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse," the DEA announced.

Recreational use of marijuana is currently legal in four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — and the District of Columbia.

Besides Nevada, Arizona, California, Maine and Massachusetts will also be voting this November to legalize recreational marijuana.

Contact Bowman at bridgetbowman@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @bridgetbhc.

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