A report released Wednesday by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) states that it’s “likely” the DEA will reschedule marijuana to reschedule III, which will have “broad implications for federal policy”.
Recently the Department of Health sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officially requesting marijuana be reclassified as a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which would effectively legalize it for prescription use. The letter came in response to a request by President Biden last year for the government to research and consider rescheduling marijuana.
“[I]f past is prologue it could be likely that DEA will reschedule marijuana according to HHS’s recommendation,” said the report. “If marijuana is rescheduled to Schedule III, it would have broad implications for federal policy… [and] this move would have significant implications for state medical marijuana programs and users of medical marijuana, but fewer implications for state recreational marijuana programs and those who use marijuana recreationally.”
Moving marijuana to schedule III, the report says, would make it so that “Those who manufacture, distribute, dispense, and possess medical marijuana may now be able to do so lawfully (under the CSA)”. The report notes that if moved to schedule III, medical marijuana patients would be explicitly eligible for visas and would be authorized to purchase and possess firearms. It would also allow marijuana businesses to take tax deductions.
The report states:
The scope of and demand for FDA oversight for medical marijuana and related products may grow considerably. In the short term, FDA may need to generate or update a substantial amount of technical information to clarify its regulatory approach to marijuana for relevant stakeholders. Given that marijuana is a complex substance containing various pharmaceutical components and is available to consumers in numerous formats, FDA may also need to consider long-term resource allocation to ensure that marijuana products consistently meet applicable regulatory standards.
The report concludes by stating:
Congress may choose to address any number of issues related to the potential rescheduling of marijuana. First, Congress could take legislative action to keep marijuana on or remove marijuana from Schedule I. If Congress removed marijuana from Schedule I, it might (1) place marijuana on one of the other schedules of controlled substances, (2) create another schedule or separate classification for marijuana under the CSA, or (3) remove marijuana as a controlled substance altogether. If the administrative scheduling process moves forward, Congress may consider whether to devote additional resources to FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure the safety and quality of the many different products already available in many state markets.
You can find the full report by clicking here.
A Biden official told us recently that they believe marijuana will likely be rescheduled prior to the November, 2024 presidential election.
According to two separate polls released earlier this year, 64% of adults in the United States support marijuana being fully legalized.