The DEA Has Published Rules to Reschedule Marijuana: Here’s What Comes Next

Today, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officially published its proposed rules that would move marijuana to Schedule III. Here’s a look at the next steps to make the change final.

The 92-page notice published today by the DEA (a branch of the Department of Justice) states that the federal government plans to move marijuana from its current status as a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug, based on its currently accepted medical value. The notice’s publication coincided with a social media video announcement by President Biden.

The DEA publishing the proposed rules in the Federal Register indicates that they’ve received approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget. Now that the notice has been published, it initiates a 60-day public comment period, which is legally required for any changes to the Controlled Substances Act.

Following the public comment period, the DEA will review all submissions to gauge public sentiment and gather additional evidence, culminating in a final hearing. At the hearing, there is an opportunity for a modification of the proposal based on public feedback and any new information that has come forward. In the majority of cases there is no alteration to proposed rules.

The Final Rule 

Following the hearing, the DOJ will issue a final rule. This rule, which will be published in the Federal Register, outlines the agency’s decision, including any changes made to the original proposal. The rule will provide a detailed explanation for the decision, addressing major concerns and the rationale for rescheduling marijuana.

The final rule will specify when the rescheduling of marijuana to Schedule III takes effect. Based on the current trajectory, it’s expected that marijuana will be officially moved to Schedule III sometime in August or September.

For a look at the 10 biggest implications of marijuana being moved to Schedule III, click here.

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