Biden Admin Moves To Reclassify Marijuana

( – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has a system it uses to classify drugs, substances, and other chemicals. Schedule I drugs are those the government deems to have no accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse. Currently, marijuana sits on that list next to heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, but it might not be that way for long.

On April 30, the Department of Justice Director of Public Affairs, Xochitl Hinojosa, confirmed that US Attorney General Merrick Garland had “circulated” the proposal to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I substance to a Schedule III drug. The director said after the proposal is “published by the Federal Register,” the department will start the “formal rulemaking process” outlaid by the Controlled Substances Act.

On April 25, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and John Fetterman (D-PA), along with US Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and others, sent a letter to Garland and the DEA administrator. They complained that it had been almost 8 months since the Department of Health and Human Services recommended the reclassification and 18 months since President Joe Biden directed his administration and the DOJ to look into the matter — without real progress. The lawmakers called on the DEA to “act.”

Substances listed on Schedule III have a low to moderate rate of dependence. Other drugs within this DEA designation include ketamine, testosterone, and products with under 90 milligrams of codeine per dose — like Tylenol with codeine.

Still, the reclassification wouldn’t legalize marijuana on a federal level for recreational use. However, it would be a move toward decriminalizing its possession and usage.

The Associated Press referenced a Gallup poll from the fall of 2023 showing that 70% of adults in the United States support legalizing the substance. Currently, there are medical marijuana programs in 41 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. Cannabis is legal for recreational use in 24 states.

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