Biden Admin Looking To Change Marijuana Rules

Biden Admin Looking To Change Marijuana Rules

( РCongress has long debated whether it should legalize marijuana. More than half of the US states have laws that allow for the substance’s medicinal or recreational use and even allow growers and dispensaries. However, at the federal level, cannabis remains illegal. In fact, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies it as a Schedule I drug, the most serious category. It seems the Biden Administration is now looking to change that.

Current Classification

The current Schedule I designation means that the DEA classifies marijuana in the same category as hardline drugs such as ecstasy, heroin, and LSD. Experts consider these substances highly addictive and dangerous, without any medical use. This classification prevents marijuana, which the government has classified as a Schedule I drug since former President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970, from being prescribed by doctors for help with managing certain medical conditions.

Many medical experts have pushed to remove cannabis from the schedule entirely. In 2022, President Joe Biden called for a federal review of the law. The DEA, a branch of the Justice Department (DOJ), undertook the mission and has recommended changes. However, the DEA recommendations may still disappoint many.

New Rule Change?

The DOJ is recommending the reclassification of marijuana as a Schedule III drug, which includes several substances that experts consider to have “a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” Other drugs in this category include anabolic steroids, ketamine, and testosterone. Attorney General Merrick Garland is backing the recommendation, which now heads to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval.

Mixed Reactions

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called it “a historic step forward.” However, he is still asking lawmakers to push forward on legislation centered on declassifying it entirely and making it easy for cannabis sellers to use the banking system. These two pieces of legislation include the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act and SAFER Banking Act.

Others, like former DEA Deputy Administrator Jack Riley, believe that marijuana should remain a Schedule I drug because he considers it a “gateway” to using more addictive substances. The conflict between state and federal legislation on the matter also remains. While many states have approved it for recreational or medicinal use, the federal government still considers use and possession a crime. Some have noted that even with the new classification, should it go through, those conflicts would still exist.

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