Biden administration suggests rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III

Federal agency suggests downgrading cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III

Following President Biden’s October 2022 request, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided its advice to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on the reclassification of marijuana. Cannabis is currently labeled as a Schedule I substance, indicating that is has no accepted medicinal value and a high abuse potential. The letter from HHS suggests a recommendation to reposition cannabis as a Schedule III drug. This classification is consistent with substances that have medical value and a moderate to low potential for dependence. It’s worth noting that while over two dozen jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for recreational use, its possession continues to be illegal federally in the United States.

After the news about the HHS recommendation broke, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey responded on social media platform X, stating, “Good. Now legalize it and expunge the records.” This comment reflects his previous request in July 2022 when, in collaboration with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, he asked the Biden administration to deschedule cannabis and pardon individuals convicted of nonviolent cannabis-related crimes. This recommendation marks a significant turning point in cannabis reform after being illegal federally since the Controlled Substances Act took effect in 1971.

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