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DEA Suggests Downgrading Marijuana to Less Dangerous Drug

DEA Suggests Downgrading Marijuana to Less Dangerous Drug

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is proposing to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, a move that could significantly impact national drug policies.

The DEA’s proposal, pending review by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), acknowledges the medical uses of cannabis and its lower potential for abuse compared to drugs like heroin and LSD.

Justice Department Director of Public Affairs Xochitl Hinojosa explained, “Today, the Attorney General circulated a proposal to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. Once published in the Federal Register, it will start a formal rulemaking process as mandated by Congress in the Controlled Substances Act.”

Once approved by the OMB, the DEA will gather public feedback and proceed with moving marijuana to Schedule III, placing it alongside ketamine and some anabolic steroids. The proposed reclassification follows a recommendation from the federal Health and Human Services Department.

Since 1971, marijuana has been categorized as a Schedule I drug, signifying no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

If reclassified, marijuana could undergo further research to better understand its medical benefits. This change could also pave the way for pharmaceutical companies to engage in the sale and distribution of medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

The reclassification could alleviate tax burdens for businesses operating in legal cannabis states by potentially eliminating IRS code Section 280E, which restricts legal cannabis companies from claiming ordinary business deductions.

Despite the potential benefits, critics have raised concerns about the proposal. Former DEA Deputy Administrator Jack Riley questioned the necessity of reclassification, citing fears that cannabis could serve as a “gateway drug” leading to other drug use.

Kevin Sabet, President and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and a former Obama administration adviser, criticized the decision as a politically driven process that could have negative effects on America’s youth.

The DEA’s proposal marks a significant shift in the country’s approach to marijuana regulation, potentially leading to major changes in the legal and medical landscape surrounding the drug.


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