While it is far from being official, it looks pretty clear that the Biden Administration’s plan is to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule III controlled substance in the ranks of steroids and ketamine. While that will be a mostly good sign for many businesses dealing with heightened Schedule I related taxes, there are also lots of negative reactions to the potential move, and they come from all sides of the debate.
Most recently, 14 Republican congressmen and women signed a letter to the DEA asking them not to reschedule marijuana and keep it where it is. Rescheduling “should be based on proven facts and science—not popular opinion, changes in state laws, or the preferred policy of an administration,” according to the lawmakers.
— Jim Risch (@SenatorRisch) September 12, 2023
They point to a study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse that shows potential dangers of higher THC products and a rise in Cannabis Use Disorder.
On the other hand, we have marijuana advocates who feel that rescheduling wouldn’t be going far enough.
Paul Armentano, the Deputy Director for NORML, spoke to Marijuana Moment from this point of view.
“The goal of federal cannabis policy reform ought to be to address the existing, untenable chasm between federal marijuana policy and the cannabis laws of the majority of U.S. states. Rescheduling the cannabis plant to Schedule III of the US Controlled Substances Act fails to adequately address this conflict, as existing state legalization laws—both adult use and medical—will continue to be in conflict with federal regulations, thereby perpetuating the existing divide between state and federal marijuana policies,” Armentano said.
This sentiment is echoed from many other voices, including Justin Strekal from BOWL PAC, Karin O’Keefe from the Marijuana Policy Project, and Cat Packer from the Drug Policy Alliance.
Then, finally, you get the voices who approve of this direction, which mainly come from the Democratic establishment. Chuck Schumer, for instance, is a happy customer.
HHS has done the right thing
DEA should now follow through on this important step to greatly reduce the harm caused by draconian marijuana laws
There is still much more that needs to be done legislatively to end the federal prohibition on cannabis and roll back the War on Drugs https://t.co/PT9KQ7LcXd
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 30, 2023
It’s unclear when the rescheduling will take place, but most likely the administration is waiting for the most politically salient moment to make it happen. Whenever it does, many people (still a majority of states) will have a noticeable change in the way marijuana is dealt with in their state. Despite the rather mixed reviews of this move, Biden will no doubt score some much needed political points if marijuana soon becomes a Schedule III controlled substance.