HomeNewsCannabis Rescheduling Public Comment Period Begins

Cannabis Rescheduling Public Comment Period Begins

The USA’s Justice Department has published a proposed rule in the US Federal Register to shift cannabis from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act to the less-restrictive Schedule III.

The announcement follows President Joe Biden directing back in 2022 that a review of how cannabis is scheduled under federal law be carried out, and a subsequent recommendation by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the change.

The Federal Register notice, attributed to the DOJ and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states:

“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”.

The public comment period runs until July 22, 2024 and further details can be found here.

Commenting on this next step, marijuana advocacy group NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said:

“While NORML ultimately favors descheduling rather than rescheduling, we understand that reclassification is associated both symbolic and tangible benefits to the cannabis community, both in the short-term and the long-term.”

NORML says it will use its position to not only comment on the proposed rule, but also mobilize interested parties to provide their views in the coming weeks; particularly doctors and patients.

Cannabis has been classified as a Schedule I since the Controlled Substances Act was established around 54 years ago. The DEA, which pretty much has final say on such matters, has rejected every prior petition looking to remove marijuana from Schedule I. This is even though Schedule I is meant to be for substances that have no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. The HHS review found currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and a potential for abuse less than the drugs or other substances listed in Schedules I and II.

A poll carried out in 2022 after President Biden floated possible reforms found 72% of respondents supported changing how federal law classifies marijuana so it is no longer classified as a Schedule I drug.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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