Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman called on President Biden to deschedule marijuana, with a goal of ultimately decriminalizing the drug, ahead of Biden’s visit to the state next week.
Biden is expected to travel to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, two key swing states, on Labor Day ahead of the November midterms.
“It’s long past time that we finally decriminalize marijuana,” Fetterman said in a statement. “The president needs to use his executive authority to begin descheduling marijuana, I would love to see him do this prior to his visit to Pittsburgh. This is just common sense and Pennslyvanians overwhelmingly support decriminalizing marijuana.”
Fetterman also took a shot at his Republican opponent Mehmet Oz, who has spoken out against marijuana legalization.
“I don’t want to hear any bullshit coming out of Dr. Oz’s campaign trying to conflate decriminalizing marijuana with seriously harmful crime. Are we supposed to believe that neither he nor any members of his staff have ever used marijuana?” Fetterman said.
“As mayor of Braddock, I made it my mission to combat serious crime. I know firsthand what real crime looks like. Marijuana does not fit the bill. It’s time to end the hypocrisy on this issue once and for all.”
Rachel Tripp, senior communications adviser to Oz, said in a statement that “under John Fetterman’s watch, crime skyrocketed in Braddock,” adding that the Democrat wants to decriminalize all drugs.
“Pennsylvania is ready to elect a leader who will restore safety and security to the commonwealth — Dr. Mehmet Oz,” Tripp said.
Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug and is illegal at the federal level, though a number of states have approved its use either for medical use, recreational use or both.
A spokesperson for Fetterman’s campaign previously said the Senate candidate would be pressing the president on the issue of decriminalizing marijuana while Biden was in the state.
During a White House briefing on Monday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about Fetterman’s statement and if the president determined how he wants to rethink the nation’s approach on marijuana.
“[T]he president supports leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule 2 drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts and at the federal level, he supports decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records,” Jean-Pierre said.
While Oz has been critical of marijuana use, he once expressed openness to the drug, saying in an interview two years ago that “it’s a lot safer than alcohol. It’s safer than narcotics. It ought to be used more widely and we can’t even study it that easily because of the way it’s regulated,” according to Marijuana Moment.
Fetterman has led Oz in recent polling and the nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report recently shifted its rating of the Senate seat from “toss up” to “lean Democrat.”
Updated at 5:13 p.m.