DEA Signals Intent to Reclassify Marijuana as a Less Dangerous Drug
In an update to a previous blog, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it will proceed with the plan to reclassify Marijuana from a “Schedule I” Controlled Substance to the less tightly regulated “Schedule III” group. The proposed shift still needs to be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget and is subject to a period of public comment, but afterwards the agency will be able to publish the rule. Considering that a recent Gallup poll found that 70% of adults in the US support legalization (up from 30% in 2000), it is not expected to receive much backlash from the public. While marijuana would remain an illegal drug at the federal level, this classification will have plenty of practical effects on how the drug is treated, including the federal government recognizing the medical use of cannabis and allow for more medical research into the drug.
Unknown Impact Lies Ahead
It was not immediately clear the exact benefits this classification would have on the marijuana industry or on those who are currently imprisoned federally for marijuana linked offenses, but generally penalties for the distribution of Schedule III drugs are much less severe than those in Schedule I. The real question seems to be whether the changes will be made retroactive and benefit current prisoners or whether the president with commute prison sentences on a mass scale.  In addition, it is also believed a reclassification could be a boon to the growing cannabis industry, including generous tax deductions (potentially lowering prices in legal markets as a result) and potentially allowing companies to be listed on major stock exchanges. The National Cannabis Roundtable, a group that represents cannabis companies, welcomed the change saying that it “is critical for state legal cannabis businesses to be treated with fairness … and to survive the threat the illicit market poses to the regulated market and public safety.”The post Federal Marijuana Reclassification One Step Closer to Reality first appeared on Darryl A. Goldberg.