Following last week’s huge news that the Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking to reschedule cannabis to a lower federal level, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has a decision to make.
“It’s certainly a big deal that a federal agency is finally admitting that cannabis does not belong on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act,” said Morgan Fox, political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Although Fox says that the HHS’s recommendation to reschedule cannabis as a Schedule III drug does not do much for cannabis users.
“It would not have any sizable impact on the criminal justice aspects of prohibition and would not resolve that conflict that would really allow states to be able to pursue these programs without any fear of federal interference,” said Fox, reported Scripps News via Channel 5 Nashville.
He noted that the major impact would likely be on cannabis business owners who may be eligible for more tax breaks and for scientific and academic cannabis researchers. The change in its schedule under the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act (CSA) would still maintain cannabis’s illegality at a federal level.
DEA’s Big Decision
Fox says there are big questions even if the DEA takes the steps to initiate a classification change. After all, the agency has rejected it before, he pointed out, which is why he thinks Congress needs to step in.
“The DEA could very well take their time on this, and historically they have taken years,” Fox said. “We’d obviously like to see things moving a lot faster.”
The White House
At a White House briefing Friday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration is not putting any pressure on the DEA publicly to act, that it is going to be an independent process.
“It is going to be very much guided by evidence,” Jean-Pierre said, adding that President Biden has always supported the legalization of medical marijuana.
“He’s been very clear about that, where appropriate, consistent with medical and scientific evidence. That is why it is important for this review—this independent review that is going to be, again, guided by evidence—to go through.”
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Photo courtesy of @DEAHQ
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