Justice Dept plans to reschedule marijuana as a low-risk drug

Justice Dept plans to reschedule marijuana as a low-risk drug

The Biden administration on Tuesday moved to reclassify marijuana as a low-risk substance, a person familiar with the plan told CNN, a historic move that acknowledges the long-criminalized drug’s medical benefits and carries far-reaching implications for marijuana-related research and the industry at large.

The US Department of Justice is recommending that marijuana be rescheduled as a Schedule III controlled substance, a classification shared by prescription drugs such as ketamine and Tylenol with codeine.

“Today, [Attorney General Merrick Garland] circulated a proposal to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III,” Xochitl Hinojosa, DOJ public affairs director, said in a statement. “Once published by the Federal Register, it will begin the formal rulemaking process as set forth by Congress in the Controlled Substances Act.”

The formal rulemaking process is lengthy, usually including a public comment period and can take months to complete.

The rescheduling recommendation, first reported Tuesday by the Associated Press, was welcomed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Rep. Republican Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who touted it on X as “major news for business, tax cuts & research hurdles.”

Rep. Democrat Earl Blumenauer of Oregon said in a statement that the rescheduling was “one step closer to ending the failed war on drugs.”

Accepted medical use
For more than 50 years, marijuana has been categorized as a Schedule I substance — drugs like heroin, bath salts and ecstasy that are considered to have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse — and are subject to the strictest restrictions.

The expected proposal comes after the US Department of Health and Human Services, following a comprehensive review of the US Food and Drug Administration at the behest of President Joe Biden, who in 2022 sent a letter to the Department of Justice supporting reclassification to Schedule III.
Last fall, members of the FDA’s Controlled Substances Staff wrote in a document that the agency recommended rescheduling marijuana because it met three criteria: a lower abuse potential than other substances on Schedules I and II; currently accepted medical use in treatment in the US; and a low or moderate risk of physical dependence in people who abuse it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse agrees with the recommendation.

Although marijuana has a “high prevalence of non-medical use” in the US, it does not appear to cause serious outcomes, compared to drugs such as heroin, oxycodone and cocaine, the researchers said. “This is particularly noticeable given the availability” of products containing very high levels of Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active compound in cannabis.

A rapidly growing industry
Since the first sale of adult-use marijuana was held in 2014 in Colorado, marijuana has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry that has attracted the attention of multinational companies across sectors such as alcohol, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and tobacco.

Cannabis, and in particular the way it is perceived by the public and politicians, has undergone major changes over the past decade.
Currently, 24 states, two territories and DC have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use, and 38 states allow medical use of marijuana products, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Cannabis dispensaries and state-licensed retail stores are expected to generate $32.1 billion in sales this year, according to estimates from MJBiz, a cannabis industry trade publication and event organizer.

Public sentiment has risen: In November, a record 70% of Americans polled by Gallup said they supported the legalization of marijuana. In 2014, that share was 51%.

US lawmakers have also warmed to the plant, drafting a number of cannabis-related bills, including one that seeks to remove marijuana entirely from the Controlled Substances Act while maintaining a state-run market.

Still against federal law
Removing marijuana from Schedule I could open up more avenues for research; reduce some of the consequences of harsher criminal penalties; potentially allowing cannabis businesses to bank more freely and openly; and, perhaps most significantly for state-licensed operators, resulting in firms no longer subject to a 40-year-old tax code that disallows credits and deductions from income generated by the sale of Schedule I and II substances.

However, the rescheduling of marijuana will not resolve the federal-state conflict, the Congressional Research Service stated in a Jan. 16 briefing. The manufacture, distribution and possession of recreational marijuana will remain illegal under federal law and may be subject to enforcement and prosecution regardless of state legality, CRS wrote.

“Beyond the tax implications, this is very symbolic,” Andrew Freedman, a former Colorado marijuana czar who now serves as executive director of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation, told CNN in an interview. “It’s rare for the federal government to reverse itself on an issue where it’s had a stand for the last 100 years and detain so many people for it.”

States that have medical marijuana programs currently have some federal protections through appropriations legislation that restricts the Department of Justice from interfering in those programs. Schedule III status will not affect the rider, CRS said.

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, better known as the Farm Bill, defines and deregulates hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol and removes it from the definition of marijuana — and from regulatory control — under the Controlled Substances Act. The FDA’s scientific and medical evaluation of marijuana does not address products that contain plant-derived cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD.

About Kepala Bergetar

Kepala Bergetar Kbergetar Live dfm2u Melayu Tonton dan Download Video Drama, Rindu Awak Separuh Nyawa, Pencuri Movie, Layan Drama Online.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *