A former official with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says he’d be “shocked” if marijuana is not moved to schedule III prior to the 2024 presidential election.
Howard Sklamberg, former FDA Deputy Commissioner for global regulatory operations / compliance, says he would be “really shocked if it took the DEA longer than the second quarter of next year to come up with its final rule. Even when I was at FDA, we knew that important regulations that you wanted to get done in an election year, you want to get done by the summer before.”
Sklamberg, who chaired the FDA’s Marijauna Working Group for several years, says he believes the DEA will approve the Department of Health’s recommendation to move marijuana to schedule III, which would effectively legalize it for prescription use across the United States.
“I personally would be surprised if DEA did not agree ultimately with FDA and DOH’s decision. It certainly would be strange, in an issue that is such an important priority for the administration, for one part of the administration to reverse what another one has said.”
Sklamber’s comments were made an a cannabis industry event.
Although it’s uncertain if Sklamberg’s prediction will come true, in September an official with the Biden Administration told us it’s their belief that marijuana will be moved to schedule III prior to the 2024 election.
In a letter sent recently to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Department of Health (DOH) officially requested that marijuana to be reclassified as a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act. The letter comes in response to an executive order issued last year by President Biden asking Health Secretary Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland to initiate a review process to consider marijuana rescheduling.
Currently marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, putting it alongside hard drugs such as heroin and LSD and indicating that it has “no known medical benefit”. This makes it illegal for all purposes under all circumstances.
The Biden Administration official, who asked to remain anonymous but who’s credentials we were able to independently verify, says that it’s the Administration’s belief that the entire process of rescheduling marijuana will be completed prior to the November, 2024 election.
“Yes, that’s what we are anticipating and hoping for.”
According to two separate polls released earlier this year, 64% of adults in the United States support marijuana being legalized for recreational use.