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U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Looks To Reclassify Marijuana

According to multiple sources the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will look to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug.

The DEA’s proposal, which still must be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget, 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 legalize marijuana outright for recreational use.

The Department of Justice will send its recommendation to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug to the White House Office of Management and Budget, according to the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly. The Justice Department is expected to transmit the recommendation today, the source said.

Potential Negative Affects Of Easing Marijuana Restrictions

A coalition of Democrats called on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to quickly remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), signaling impatience over the agency’s ongoing review of cannabis’s designation last week.

The lawmakers were led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and John Fetterman (Pa.) and Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) in a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.

“It is significant for these federal agencies, and the DEA and FDA in particular, to acknowledge publicly for the first time what many patients and advocates have known for decades: that cannabis is a safe and effective therapeutic agent for tens of millions of Americans,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, which advocates for cannabis to be removed altogether from the list of controlled substances.

Twenty-four states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and 14 other states authorize it for medical use.

24 States Have Legalized Recreational Marijuana

“Rescheduling the cannabis plant to Schedule III fails to adequately address this conflict, as existing state legalization laws – both adult use and medical – will continue to be in conflict with federal regulations, thereby perpetuating the existing divide between state and federal marijuana policies,” Armentano said in a statement.

The federal proposal to reschedule marijuana would have broad support among voters. A nationwide survey last fall commissioned by the Coalition for Cannabis Scheduling Reform found nearly 60% of likely voters supported rescheduling, with 65% of younger voters 18 to 25 favoring it, the highest of any demographic group polled. Overall, the number of Americans who think marijuana should be legal reached a record high at 70%, according to a Gallup poll in the fall.

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Carl Fish

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