Tue, 21 May 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

US plans to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug

Update : 01 May 2024, 10:23

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will move ahead with plans to reclassify marijuana from the most strict classification of Schedule I to the less stringent Schedule III, according to multiple media reports Tuesday.

For more than 50 years, marijuana has been considered a Schedule I drug, classified on the same level as highly addictive narcotics like heroin and ecstasy.

Last year, the Health and Human Services Department recommended to the DEA that marijuana should be a Schedule III drug, which would put it alongside less addictive substances like Tylenol with codeine, ketamine and testosterone.

The measure, if enacted, would not legalize marijuana at the federal level but could broaden access to the drug for medicinal use and boost cannabis industries in states where it is legal.

The proposal, which still has to be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), will also acknowledge that marijuana has less potential for abuse than some of those classified as the most dangerous drugs.

When will DEA move to publish the new rule?

Once OMB signs off, the DEA will take public comment on the plan to move marijuana from its current classification to Schedule III.

After the public comment period and a review by an administrative judge, the agency would eventually publish the final rule.

The move comes after President Joe Biden called for a review of federal marijuana law in October 2022 and moved to pardon thousands of Americans convicted federally of simple possession of the drug.

The announcement could also prove to be a political boost for Biden in election year. Recent polling shows 70% of adults having expressed support for marijuana legalization, more than double the share who said they favored it in 2000.

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