Cannabis is Being Rescheduled to Schedule III - What Does This Mean for You?

Cannabis is Being Rescheduled to Schedule III - What Does This Mean for You?

BREAKING NEWS: DEA to Reclassify Cannabis as Schedule III Drug

Huge Moment in Cannabis History

In July 2023, the U.S. HHS (Department of Health and Human Services recommended that the DEA move cannabis to a Schedule III instead of a Schedule I drug. Since then, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) has spent the last few months considering this change.

Now, inside sources say the DEA's review is complete. The agency will unveil its answer in the coming months. Likewise, the decision still awaits final approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget. Regardless, the consideration marks a historic shift in American drug policy.

The proposal was first initiated by President Joe Biden's administration in 2022. It recognized the medical potential of cannabis. The administration acknowledges that cannabis poses less risk than other Schedule I substances.

What does this decision mean, though? And what are its potential impacts? Keep reading to learn more.

What is a Schedule III Drug?

Schedule III drugs include ketamine, testosterone, and anabolic steroids. They include products containing less than 90mg of codeine, such as Tylenol with codeine.

Meanwhile, examples of Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, among others. These substances are defined as drugs with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Since cannabis is becoming a widespread option for medical patients, the plant doesn't fit the definition of a Schedule I drug. It's easy to see why it can justifiably be rescheduled to, at minimum, a Schedule III drug.

Implications of Rescheduling

The implications of this move are widespread, affecting countless industries and markets.

Medical Research

Research cannabis could pave the way for extensive research into its medical potential.

It could allow pharmaceutical companies to produce and distribute medical cannabis. For the time being, that would be at least in states where it's already presently medically legal.

Taxation and Regulation

The move could also ease tax burdens for cannabis businesses currently operating in state where the drug is legal. It may even eliminate the IRS code Section 280E. This code currently restricts ordinary business expense deductions for cannabis businesses.

Black Market Impact

Rescheduling cannabis could also help shrink the thriving illegal cannabis market. It may provide a boost to legal businesses, aiding states where the plant is already legal. Regulatory efforts help keep these black market purchases at bay more consumers.

Process and Timeline

Once the DEA reschedules cannabis, it must be published in the Federal Register. From its publication date, the proposal must undergo a 60-day public comment period.

Following that command period, an administrative law judge will review the proposal. At this time, the judge may potentially hold a hearing before issuing final approval.

In prior years, the decision may faced more challenges during the public review period. Now, thought, there's growing bipartisan support for cannabis reform. It's more likely than ever to withstand any attempts to block its rescheduling.

President Biden's move to reclassify marijuana reflects the country's evolving attitudes toward cannabis.

According to a recent Pew Research poll:

  • 57% of Americans believe cannabis should be legal for both medical and recreational purposes.
  • Around 32% believe cannabis should be medically legal.
  • And only 11% of Americans think the plant shouldn't be legal at all.
These statistics are far and away some of the best polling numbers cannabis has ever had. It helps push that President Biden's decision is responsive to public opinion.

Looking Ahead

There's cautious optimism regarding this monumental change. Many see the decision as a positive step. However, there are concerns about the potential for unintended consequences. Some users may worry about the impact of high-potency cannabis on public health. Especially for younger generations, there's concern regarding cannabis' influence on some consumers.

In addition to this move, Congress is considering several bills to further reform federal cannabis laws. These bills include the SAFER Banking Act, which has been in consideration since 2019. Some lawmakers are making efforts to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act altogether.

The rescheduling of the cannabis represents something larger than the plant. It symbolizes a significant departure from decades of federal drug policies that didn't work. It's a step in the right direction for many and a step to admitting that the war on drugs failed.

While it's a positive way forward, there are still challenges ahead. In the coming weeks, the nation will grapple with all the implications of this decision. As the DEA moves forward in reclassifying cannabis, the plant's regulation will undergo a seismic shift. The full  impact of this decision remains unseen for the time being.

Regardless, it's a monumental milestone in the ongoing debate of cannabis legalization and regulation. Stay tuned for what's ahead!

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