DEA Officially Publishes Marijuana Rescheduling Proposal in Federal Register, Public Comment Period Now Underway

The DEA has officially published their proposed plans to reschedule marijuana in the Federal Register, initiating the legally required 60-day public comment period.

“The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) proposes to transfer marijuana from schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) to schedule III of the CSA, consistent with the view of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) that marijuana has a currently accepted medical use as well as HHS’s views about marijuana’s abuse potential and level of physical or psychological dependence”, states the official summary of the proposal, published in the Federal Register.

The summary continues by stating that the CSA “requires that such actions be made through formal rulemaking on the record after opportunity for a hearing. If the transfer to schedule III is finalized, the regulatory controls applicable to schedule III controlled substances would apply, as appropriate, along with existing marijuana-specific requirements and any additional controls that might be implemented, including those that might be implemented to meet U.S. treaty obligations.”

The summary notes that if marijuana is transferred into schedule III, “the manufacture, distribution, dispensing, and possession of marijuana would remain subject to the applicable criminal prohibitions of the CSA. Any drugs containing a substance within the CSA’s definition of “marijuana” would also remain subject to the applicable prohibitions in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”). DOJ is soliciting comments on this proposal.”

Comments must be submitted electronically or postmarked on or before July 22, 2024. The Federal Register posting states that “Interested persons may file a request for a hearing or waiver of an opportunity for a hearing or to participate in a hearing pursuant to 21 CFR 1308.44 and in accordance with 21 CFR 1316.47 or 1316.49, as applicable, which must be received or postmarked on or before June 20, 2024.”

The DEA has confirmed that the notice will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, May 21, 2024. This publication will kick off the legally required 60-day public comment period, allowing individuals and organizations to provide remarks and feedback on the proposed change. The proposed change is currently listed on the Federal Register’s website with the disclaimer, “This document is unpublished. It is scheduled to be published on 05/21/2024.”

For more information, click here.

After the 60-day public comment period, the DEA will review all submissions to assess public sentiment and gather additional evidence. This process will culminate in a final hearing and the issuance of a final ruling. Based on the current timeline, marijuana is expected to be officially moved to Schedule III sometime in August.

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