Cannabis reclassification could help combat stigma

FILE – Marijuana plants grow at a lab in Cottage Grove, Minn., June 17, 2015. The Minnesota governor’s office did not have complete information about the woman the governor appointed as director of Minnesota’s new marijuana regulatory agency, leading to her surprising resignation after media reports about her financial problems and other issues, according to an audit released Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Efforts to decriminalize cannabis are underway on Capitol Hill, as the Department of Justice recently moved to re-classify the drug as a less dangerous substance.

The stigma of cannabis is an issue several advocates of the drug have fought against for decades.

One employee at Holyoke Cannabis considers the drug a plant, that helps people get through their day, relieve stress and sleep better. Jacob Berlin with Holyoke Cannabis told 22News, “It’s just a miracle plant, to be honest, and just wish there wasn’t such negative stigma surrounding it and all the stereotypes surrounding it.”

He added that dispensaries and related services contribute to the decriminalization of cannabis, by adhering to the guidelines set by the Cannabis Control Commission. A proposal was sent Thursday to the federal register, to make marijuana a ‘schedule three’ drug, rather than a schedule one. This would acknowledge the drug’s medical benefits at the federal level.

The plan does not legalize marijuana outright for recreational use.

22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts in March 1953. Watch the 22News digital edition on weekdays at 4 p.m.

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