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DEA Decides To Re-Classify Marijuana As Less Dangerous Schedule III Drug

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has made the decision to re-classify marijuana as a less dangerous drug under the Controlled Substances Act, reports the Associated Press.

In a landmark reform of the federal marijuana laws, the DEA will recommend categorizing marijuana as a Schedule III drug instead of its current Schedule 1 classification, which subjects it to the same strict restrictions as narcotics such as heroin, methamphetamines and LSD.

The proposal will be sent to the Office of Management and Budget for its review.  It will then go through a 60-day public comment period and a review by an administrative judge before the final rule is published.

It is the latest step in a process that began in 2022, when President Joe Biden launched an initiative by his administration to review how marijuana is classified under federal law.  The president also moved to pardon thousands of Americans convicted on federal charges of simple marijuana possession.

Marijuana has been categorized as a Schedule 1 drug since 1971, defined as those with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Under Schedule III it would be classified along with substances such as Tylenol with codeine, steroids and testosterone.

The rescheduling would also allow cannabis to be studied and researched to identify its medical benefits.

Deputy Director Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws reacted to the decision, saying “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.”

He also noted NORML’s view that cannabis should be removed from the Controlled Substances Act altogether, providing state governments the ability to regulate marijuana in the manner they see fit without violating federal law.

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