US Government to Reclassify Marijuana

It will still remain a controlled substance, however.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

May 1, 2024

2 Min Read
US Government to Reclassify Marijuana
The DEA is moving to classify it under a Schedule 3 drug.Jupiterimages / The Image Bank via Getty Images

The US Drug Enforcement Administration is moving to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, The Associated Press reported.

This is a major shift to generations of American drug policy that could have a wide ripple effect across the country.

Currently, the DEA still considers marijuana "a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the US, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision," according to the agency's website.

The proposal, which still needs review by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would recognize the medical uses of cannabis and acknowledge it has less potential for abuse than some of the nation’s most dangerous drugs. However, it would not outright legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The agency’s move was confirmed to AP by people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive regulatory review, which clears the last significant regulatory hurdle before the agency’s biggest policy change in more than 50 years can take effect.

Once OMB signs off, the DEA will take public comment on the plan to move marijuana from its current classification as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD. It will move to Schedule III, alongside ketamine and some anabolic steroids, following a recommendation from the federal Health and Human Services Department. After the public comment period and a review by an administrative judge, the agency will publish the final rule.

“Today, the Attorney General circulated a proposal to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III,” Justice Department Director of Public Affairs Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement. The DEA is a component of the Department of Justice. “Once published by the Federal Register, it will initiate a formal rulemaking process as prescribed by Congress in the Controlled Substances Act."

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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