U.S. DEA to Reclassify Marijuana

The AP is reporting today that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency will soon begin the process to reschedule marijuana from Class I to Class III.

The DEA is proposing to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, acknowledging its medical uses and lower potential for abuse compared to other substances. This shift follows President Joe Biden’s call for a review of federal marijuana law and his efforts to pardon individuals convicted of simple possession. The move, pending review by the White House Office of Management and Budget, would move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III, easing federal restrictions while still subjecting it to regulation. Advocates argue for treating marijuana like alcohol, while critics express concerns about potential consequences and international treaty obligations. The proposal reflects changing attitudes toward marijuana, with a majority of Americans supporting legalization, and aims to address racial disparities and unlock economic opportunities in the burgeoning marijuana industry.

The move when completed (which will take some time to finalize) will only legalize a small set of uses. For example, it would likely make FDA oversight of clinical trials using marijuana less burdensome. It is unlikely to open the door to FDA regulation of marijuana as a food, dietary supplement, combustible/vape product, or any use with animals. That scope of change would require full legalization by Congress.

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Marc Sanchez

Marc Sanchez

Marc is dedicated to helping his clients navigate the complex world of FDA and USDA legislation. He represents FDA-regulated companies in the food, dietary supplement, beverage, cosmetic, medical device, and drug industries.

Marc is the author of two textbooks and a lecturer at Northeastern University. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and the D.C. Bar Association.

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