The secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has confirmed, for the first time, that their agency has recommended to the DEA that marijuana be rescheduled to Schedule III, while confirming they are in continuing talks on the issue.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra says HHS has “communicated to them our position”, referencing the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He says they’ve “put it all out there for them”, referencing a 252 page document that was recently released publicly via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Becerra confirms that the agency is requesting marijuana be moved to Schedule III, a considerable shift from its current Schedule I status. The move would effectively legalize medical marijuana for prescription use nationwide, while providing medical marijuana patients and businesses a plethora of legal protections.
Becerra notes that his agency continues to be in touch with the DEA, saying “We continue to offer them any follow up, technical information if they have any questions”.
The DEA recently sent a letter to congressional lawmakers informing them that their review of marijuana as a schedule I drug is currently underway, while noting that the agency has “the final authority” when it comes to any rescheduling effort.
Last week Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser led a group of 12 state attorneys general on a letter encouraging the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III under the federal Controlled Substances Act in the interest of public health and safety.
In September congressional researchers released a report stating that the DEA is “likely” to reschedule marijuana, with many believing it will be done prior to the 2024 presidential election.