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DEA Has Recommended Cannabis Be Rescheduled to Schedule III

USA Marijuana Laws
The DEA has proposed rescheduling cannabis from a Schedule I to Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Before taking effect, the DEA’s proposal must undergo review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“This is a positive step forward for federal cannabis policy, however it is a rather modest step given the strong support among American voters for comprehensive cannabis reform,” said Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “It is important to acknowledge that this rescheduling would not affect the criminalization of medical cannabis patients and cannabis consumers under state laws – so we must continue the work of enacting sensible and fair cannabis legalization and medical cannabis laws through state legislatures and ballot initiatives.”

In August 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) formally recommended rescheduling cannabis. In a letter sent to the DEA, HHS provided findings from their review of marijuana’s scheduling status and recommended rescheduling marijuana to a Schedule III controlled substance.

“I’m underwhelmed by the progress made during President Biden’s administration, I think it was fair to expect more,” added Schweich. “It was absurd to consider cannabis to be more dangerous than heroin, as is the case today. It will remain absurd to consider cannabis to be more dangerous than alcohol, Xanax, and Valium, which will still be the case after this rescheduling takes effect.”

Rescheduling cannabis would provide many real-world benefits, including facilitating research and reducing burdens on medical cannabis patients, providers, and the businesses that serve them; However, moving cannabis to Schedule III will not resolve the conflicts between federal and state laws, and ultimately action is needed from Congress to enact federal legalization and criminal justice policies.

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