As legal sales of recreational cannabis began in his home state of Massachusetts, Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy III has called on the federal government to legalize marijuana. Kennedy made his case for an end to national cannabis prohibition in an op-ed published on Tuesday in the online health and life sciences magazine Stat.

Kennedy wrote in the editorial that Washington has failed in its duty to govern.

“Our federal government has ceded its responsibility — and authority — to thoughtfully regulate marijuana,” Kennedy said.

He noted that three more states passed cannabis legalization measures in this month’s midterm elections and that he believes it is time for the federal government to do the same.

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

New Stance for Kennedy

Kennedy acknowledged that until now he has opposed the legalization of recreational marijuana.

“I’ve remained skeptical,” he said, and then went on to explain.

“My reluctance to embrace legalization stems primarily from one place: my ongoing work with the mental health and addiction

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