HomeNewsCannabis Rescheduling Attracts Thousands Of Submissions

Cannabis Rescheduling Attracts Thousands Of Submissions

It appears the USA’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been busy keeping up with comments on the potential rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III.

Following President Joe Biden directing a review be undertaken on how marijuana is scheduled under federal law in 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended rescheduling from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA); a far less restrictive category.

The CSA provides the Attorney General with the authority to schedule, reschedule, or decontrol drugs; an authority the AG has delegated to the DEA Administrator. The CSA also requires that rescheduling be made through formal rulemaking on the record after opportunity for a hearing.

The DEA opened a public comment period on the rescheduling issue in May and comments must be submitted by July 22, 2024. At the time of writing, 28,644 comments have been received. While a quick review indicated many are very brief and just indicating support for rescheduling, others provide more detail on justification as to why.

For example, the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association (MoCannTrade) has submitted formal comments to the DEA in support of reclassifying cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III. Commenting on its submission, MoCannTrade Executive Director Andrew Mullins said:

“Cannabis rescheduling is a long overdue federal policy shift, which will allow for much greater research and bring parity to marijuana business by treating them like all other small businesses for tax purposes.”

But while enthusiastically supporting rescheduling, the group also believes it’s crucial that the federal government doesn’t disrupt state regulation of cannabis programs.

“By recognizing and respecting local control from the states, better public policy will be born,” MoCannTrade says.

All public comments submitted can be viewed here. It will be interesting to see a breakdown of the nature of submissions when the comment period is done and dusted.

Some want the DEA to go further, believing rescheduling isn’t enough. In May, NORML stated cannabis should be removed from the CSA entirely; enabling states to regulate it as they wish without coming into conflict with or violating federal law. In February this year, a dozen senators  also urged the DEA to fully de-schedule rather than down-schedule marijuana.

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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