"US drug control agency will move to reclassify marijuana in a historic shift"

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Just in time for the 2024 presidential election.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will move to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, The Associated Press has learned, a historic shift to generations of American drug policy that could have wide ripple effects across the country. The DEA’s proposal, which still must be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget, would recognize the medical uses of cannabis and acknowledge it has less potential for abuse than some of the nation’s most dangerous drugs. However, it would not legalize marijuana outright for recreational use. The agency’s move, confirmed to the AP on Tuesday by five people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive regulatory review, clears the last significant regulatory hurdle before the agency’s biggest policy change in more than 50 years can take effect.

Once OMB signs off, the DEA will take public comment on the plan to move marijuana from its current classification as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD. It moves pot to Schedule III, alongside ketamine and some anabolic steroids, following a recommendation from the federal Health and Human Services Department. After the public comment period and a review by an administrative judge, the agency would eventually publish the final rule. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will move to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, The Associated Press has learned, a historic shift to generations of American drug policy that could have wide ripple effects across the country. The DEA’s proposal, which still must be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget, would recognize the medical uses of cannabis and acknowledge it has less potential for abuse than some of the nation’s most dangerous drugs. However, it would not legalize marijuana outright for recreational use.

The agency’s move, confirmed to the AP on Tuesday by five people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive regulatory review, clears the last significant regulatory hurdle before the agency’s biggest policy change in more than 50 years can take effect. Once OMB signs off, the DEA will take public comment on the plan to move marijuana from its current classification as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD. It moves pot to Schedule III, alongside ketamine and some anabolic steroids, following a recommendation from the federal Health and Human Services Department. After the public comment period and a review by an administrative judge, the agency would eventually publish the final rule. It comes after President Joe Biden called for a review of federal marijuana law in October 2022 and moved to pardon thousands of Americans convicted federally of simple possession of the drug. He has also called on governors and local leaders to take similar steps to erase marijuana convictions.

“Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities,” Biden said in December. “Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.” The election year announcement could help Biden, a Democrat, boost flagging support, particularly among younger voters. Biden and a growing number of lawmakers from both major political parties have been pushing for the DEA decision as marijuana has become increasingly decriminalized and accepted, particularly by younger people. A Gallup poll last fall found 70% of adults support legalization, the highest level yet recorded by the polling firm and more than double the roughly 30% who backed it in 2000. Last week, 21 Democrats led by Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York sent a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram and Attorney General Merrick Garland arguing marijuana should be dropped from the controlled-substances list and instead regulated like alcohol. “It is time for the DEA to act,” the lawmakers wrote. “Right now, the Administration has the opportunity to resolve more than 50 years of failed, racially discriminatory marijuana policy.”
https://apnews.com/article/marijuana-bi ... d65832a3b8


Schedule III drugs.
Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs but more than Schedule IV. Some examples of Schedule III drugs are: products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone
https://www.dea.gov/drug-information/drug-scheduling

Congress should reassign drug scheduling and put it under the FDA and remove it from DEA.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: "US drug control agency will move to reclassify marijuana in a historic shift"

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I think it was the great philosopher Snoop Dog who said, you put two gangs in a room with booze, and people get killed. You put them in a room with weed, and they be laffin'. That was a crude paraphrase, but you get the gist. Now that it's possible to snag tax revenue from weed, suddenly it should be legal. I know: coincidence. Nonetheless, I think the reclassification is a good step. In California you can grow six plants, but don't try and sell it without a tax stamp. So strange.

CDF
Crazy cat peekin' through a lace bandana
like a one-eyed Cheshire, like a diamond-eyed Jack

Re: "US drug control agency will move to reclassify marijuana in a historic shift"

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featureless wrote: Tue Apr 30, 2024 9:27 pm Talking about half measures, as usual. Just take it off the fucking schedule already. It being illegal has caused far more damage to society than the drug itself.
Agree. It has no reason to be on any list. I believe tobacco is more damaging and alcohol isn’t on a list and produces intoxication if consumed excessively. Just remove it.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: "US drug control agency will move to reclassify marijuana in a historic shift"

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That marijuana has historically been associated with immigrants and dark skinned people has not been forgotten by conservatives. Even when the West Coast hippies adopted the drug it did little to legitimize it as a form of recreation for most white folks. Look at the ads for alcohol and the way it is described in rich foodie terms and you’ll see it retains a veneer of class and sophistication that marijuana will never even touch for these individuals. They will choose to keep the drugs separate for different classes of people in their minds even if unrepentant racism is no longer socially acceptable. It will take a few more generations to die off before using marijuana is no longer considered a criminal offense in all of America.
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent." -Gandhi

Re: "US drug control agency will move to reclassify marijuana in a historic shift"

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For more than 50 years, marijuana has been categorized as a Schedule I substance — drugs like heroin, bath salts and ecstasy that are considered to have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse — and subject to the strictest of restrictions. The expected recommendation comes after the US Health and Human Services department, following a thorough US Food and Drug Administration review at the direction of President Joe Biden, who in 2022 sent a letter to the Justice Department supporting the reclassification to Schedule III. Last fall, members of the FDA’s Controlled Substance Staff wrote in the documents that the agency recommended rescheduling marijuana because it meets three criteria: a lower potential for abuse than other substances on Schedules I and II; a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the US; and a risk of low or moderate physical dependence in people who abuse it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse concurred with the recommendation. Although marijuana has a “high prevalence of non-medical use” in the US, it doesn’t seem to elicit serious outcomes, compared with drugs such as heroin, oxycodone and cocaine, the researchers said. “This is especially notable given the availability” of products that contain very high levels of Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary active compound in cannabis.
Currently, 24 states, two territories and DC have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use, and 38 states allow medical use of cannabis products, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. State-licensed cannabis dispensaries and retail shops are expected to generate $32.1 billion in sales this year, according to estimates from MJBiz, a cannabis industry trade publication and events organizer. Public sentiment has ballooned: In November [2023], a record 70% of Americans surveyed by Gallup said they supported cannabis legalization. In 2014, that share was 51%. US lawmakers have warmed up to the plant as well, drafting scores of cannabis-related bills, including those seeking to remove marijuana entirely from the Controlled Substances Act while preserving the state-run markets.
However, rescheduling marijuana will not solve that federal-state conflict, the Congressional Research Service noted in a January 16 brief. The manufacture, distribution and possession of recreational marijuana would remain illegal under federal law and possibly subject to enforcement and prosecution regardless of the state’s legality, the CRS wrote. “Outside of the tax implications, this is monumentally symbolic,” Andrew Freedman, the former Colorado cannabis czar who now serves as executive director of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation, told CNN in an interview. “It is rare for the federal government to reverse itself on an issue where it’s had a stance for the last 100 years and arrested countless people for.”

States with medical marijuana programs do currently have some federal protections in place via appropriations legislation that restricts the Justice Department from interfering in those programs. Schedule III status will not affect that rider, the CRS said. The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act, better known as the Farm Bill, defined and decontrolled hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol and removed it from the definition of marijuana — and from regulatory control — under the Controlled Substances Act. The FDA’s scientific and medical evaluation of marijuana did not address products containing plant-derived cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD.
https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/30/economy/ ... index.html

In each budget cycle since FY2014, Congress has passed an appropriations rider barring the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using taxpayer funds to prevent states from “implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” Courts have interpreted the appropriations rider to prohibit federal prosecution of state-legal activities involving medical marijuana. However, it poses no bar to federal prosecution of activities involving recreational marijuana. Moreover, the rider does not remove criminal liability; it merely limits enforcement of the CSA [Controlled Substances Act]in certain circumstances while the rider remains in effect. While official DOJ policy has varied somewhat across Administrations, recent presidential Administrations have not prioritized prosecution of state-legal activities involving marijuana. Even absent criminal prosecution or conviction, individuals and organizations engaged in marijuana related activities in violation of the CSA—including participants in the state-legal marijuana industry—may face collateral consequences arising from the federal prohibition of marijuana. Other federal laws impose legal consequences based on criminal activity, including violations of the CSA.

For example, a financial institution handling income from a marijuana business may violate federal anti-money laundering laws. Likewise, Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code renders marijuana businesses ineligible for certain federal tax deductions. The presence of income from a marijuana-related business may also prevent a bankruptcy court from confirming a bankruptcy plan (though courts have split on the issue). For individuals, participation in the state-legal marijuana industry may have adverse immigration consequences. Violations of the CSA may also affect individuals’ ability to receive certain federal government benefits. In addition, federal law prohibits gun ownership and possession by any person who is an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance,” with no exception for users of state-legal medical marijuana.
Moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III, without other legal changes, would not bring the state-legal medical or recreational marijuana industry into compliance with federal controlled substances law. With respect to medical marijuana, a key difference between placement in Schedule I and Schedule III is that substances in Schedule III have an accepted medical use and may lawfully be dispensed by prescription, while Substances in Schedule I cannot. However, prescription drugs must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although FDA has approved some drugs derived from or related to cannabis, marijuana itself is not an FDA-approved drug.

Moreover, if one or more marijuana products obtained FDA approval, manufacturers and distributors would need to register with DEA and comply with regulatory requirements that apply to Schedule III substances in order to handle those products. Users of medical marijuana would need to obtain valid prescriptions for the substance from medical providers, subject to federal legal requirements that differ from existing state regulatory requirements for medical marijuana. With respect to the manufacture, distribution, and possession of recreational marijuana, if marijuana were moved to Schedule III, such activities would remain illegal under federal law and potentially subject to federal prosecution regardless of their status under state law.
https://crsreports.congress.gov/product ... B/LSB11105
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: "US drug control agency will move to reclassify marijuana in a historic shift"

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featureless wrote: Wed May 01, 2024 9:07 am Thanks for that article, Highdesert. Essentially, this move won't do a thing to legalize cannabis. All Biden's "let's get people busted for smoking pot out of jail" talk remains talk. But vote for me, young 'uns, I did something.
Yup things like this happen every presidential election season, it's politics. In 2022 Biden probably didn't feel comfortable asking Congress to remove MJ totally from the Schedule so a minor tweak. Criminal penalties will continue including barring admitted users or those convicted from purchasing firearms. On the other hand, alcohol isn't a controlled substance listed on the Schedule of Drugs. The feds do control production and distribution of alcohol, but it's mostly left to the states to regulate it.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: "US drug control agency will move to reclassify marijuana in a historic shift"

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sikacz wrote: Wed May 01, 2024 9:37 am It’s the baby steps argument again. Instead of taking on an issue it gets dragged on for years by taking meaningless step.
Yup, Biden was afraid he and Democrats would get blamed for "legalizing drugs". Not everyone who is for or against legalizing marijuana falls into the usual political camps, some Republicans support it and some Democrats are against it.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: "US drug control agency will move to reclassify marijuana in a historic shift"

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This is the email the Drug Policy Alliance sent me on this issue. Their email contained links and unfortunately cut & paste didn't transfer them.
Drug Policy Alliance

The Associated Press just reported that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is proposing rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I drug, the most restrictive class, to a Schedule III drug, a less restrictive class.

While changes to our failed federal marijuana laws are long overdue, we know that rescheduling is insufficient!

Rescheduling marijuana would continue marijuana criminalization at the federal level. And most penalties, including those for simple possession, would continue as long as marijuana remains anywhere on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

We all deserve a federal framework for marijuana that upholds the health, wellbeing, and safety of our communities – particularly Black communities who have borne the brunt of our country’s racist enforcement of marijuana laws. To achieve federal decriminalization, marijuana must be removed from the CSA by descheduling it. Descheduling marijuana is the only way to put an end to federal prohibition and the harms it’s causing to our communities.

Public comments on the DEA’s rescheduling proposal will open soon, which will give supporters like you a chance to weigh in directly. We’ll let you know when that happens so you can make your voice heard. But as we wait, it’s crucial for us to speak up right now. Tell Biden that rescheduling falls short and demand descheduling to decriminalize marijuana nationwide.

We all deserve common-sense marijuana reform that keeps people safe, benefits our communities, and reinvests in the people who have been most harmed by marijuana enforcement. And on the 2020 campaign trail, President Biden made a campaign promise to do just that by decriminalizing marijuana and expunging marijuana records. But his DEA’s proposal to reschedule fails to deliver on his promises.

Marijuana criminalization would continue to harm individuals, families and communities across the United States. Rescheduling would not:

End marijuana arrests;
Release anyone in prison for marijuana;
Restore rights and access to public benefits, such as housing assistance;
Stop marijuana-based deportations;
Protect state marijuana regulatory programs or their patients or consumers;
Protect workers in the marijuana industry; or
End this country’s failed approach to marijuana or right the wrongs of criminalization.

Rescheduling marijuana is not a policy solution for federal marijuana criminalization. Descheduling and legalizing marijuana the right way isn’t just good policy, it’s popular with voters, too. Please take action now in support of descheduling marijuana.

We’ve arrived at this pivotal moment due to decades of work with supporters like you. And we are working with United for Marijuana Decriminalization, a coalition of the nation’s leading marijuana policy reform advocates and industry leaders, to ensure our voices are heard.

President Biden must follow through on his promises to end marijuana criminalization. And we can’t stop there. He must also reinvest in the people and communities that have been most harmed by the war on drugs. Dozens of states have already legalized marijuana for adult use. It’s time our federal government took action on marijuana laws that actually work for the people.

Take Action
Cat Packer
Sincerely,
Cat Packer

Director of Drug Markets and Legal Regulation
Drug Policy Alliance

Re: "US drug control agency will move to reclassify marijuana in a historic shift"

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CowboyT wrote: Tue May 21, 2024 9:06 pm Thanks, CDFingers. Really, what they ought to do is just take it the heck off of Schedule I and treat it like we currently treat alcohol.
Yes, alcohol and hemp are regulated by states, but they are not controlled substances under federal law like marijuana. Maybe the next president will remove it from the DEA list of controlled substances. News reports are that even moving it to Schedule III might not make it easy for researchers to study marijuana.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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