Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyOvernight Defense: Transgender troops rally as ban nears | Trump may call more troops to border | National Guard expects 3M training shortfall from border deployment | Pentagon to find housing for 5,000 migrant children Transgender troops rally as Pentagon prepares to implement ban The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition — Trump rallies for second term on 'promises kept' MORE III (D-Mass.) is urging the U.S. to legalize marijuana at the federal level, a call that comes on the same day that Massachusetts opened its first recreational marijuana stores. 

Kennedy in an essay for Stat admits that he's been skeptical about relaxing regulations surrounding marijuana because of his work with "mental health and addiction communities."

But Kennedy notes that he's heard from many other people about the positive effects that marijuana can have and said that has changed his perspective. 


"I’ve had countless conversations with people on both sides," Kennedy writes. "One thing is clear to me: Our federal policy on marijuana is badly broken, benefiting neither the elderly man suffering from cancer whom marijuana may help nor the young woman prone to substance use disorder whom it may harm."

"This needs to change," he continues. "Given the rapid pace of state-level legalization and liberalization, I believe we must implement strong, clear, and fair federal guidelines. To do that requires us to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and legalize it at the federal level."

Kennedy goes on to argue that marijuana's federal prohibition has led to failures in areas such as the nation's criminal justice and health care systems. 

For example, he argues that the U.S. lags behind other nations in regards to research that can ensure marijuana use meets health standards outlined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

"Legalization is not a cure-all," he concludes. "Risks remain and regulatory vigilance is required. Criminal justice inequities will persist until adequate state-level reforms are sought nationwide. But legalization would guide states choosing to move forward with strong and clear national standards meant to ensure that all Americans are protected fully and equally."

Kennedy's essay comes as more states ease laws about marijuana use, and as Americans, according to polls, become more open to legalizing the drug for medical and recreational use. 

Michigan became the 10th state earlier this month to pass a bill allowing adults over 21 to legally use marijuana for recreational purposes.