Mohave County
May 2024
Volume 24 Issue 3

May 2024 | May 2024 | 0 comments

Feds move to reclassify marijuana as ‘Schedule III’ drug

May 2024 | 0 comments

May 2024

NATION – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) earlier this month proposed reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous drug, from a ‘Schedule I’ drug to the less regulated Schedule III category. The shift would place marijuana in a ranking that would recognize the use of cannabis for medical use but not for recreational use.
It 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 the drug.
“Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities,” Biden said. “Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.”
Although this is an historic shift in position for the government, and has far-reaching implications for the country, the immediate effects will be minimal.
Schedule I drugs include heroin, ecstasy, Quaaludes, and LSD. Schedule III drugs are still considered controlled substances and are subject to rules that allow for some medical uses but are subject to federal prosecution for those who traffic in the drugs illegally.
No change is expected to the state-licensed marijuana programs currently in existence for both legal recreation and medical use in many of the states and the reclassification will not have an immediate impact on people already jailed for cannabis-related crimes.
But the change in category will open the door to research with human subjects because it’s difficult to conduct clinical studies on Schedule I drugs when it’s illegal to administer the drug. It will take time, but the ability to study the drug will likely inform the issue of addiction and misuse of marijuana.
The White House Office of Management and Budget to acknowledge the medical use of cannabis, and then a public-comment period and review from an administrative judge, a lengthy process, must review the proposal.
A growing number of lawmakers from both political parties have been calling for decriminalization of marijuana. A Gallup poll last fall found 70% of adults support legalization.
Jack Riley, a former deputy administrator of the DEA, was quoted in an Associated Press article in April, saying that he had concerns about the proposed change because he thinks marijuana is a possible “gateway drug,” one that might lead to the use of other drugs.
“‘But in terms of us getting clear to use our resources to combat other major drugs, that’s a positive,'” Riley said, noting that fentanyl alone accounts for more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S. a year.”
— Shirín McGraham

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