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US Health Officials Advise Loosening Marijuana Restrictions

Department of Health and Human Services suggests reclassifying marijuana to Schedule III.




US health officials are proposing a change in marijuana regulations, potentially paving the way for a broader cannabis market.

A high-ranking official from the Department of Health and Human Services has written to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s administrator, requesting that marijuana’s classification be shifted from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act. Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, implying high abuse risk and no accepted medical use. The proposed reclassification is based on a Food and Drug Administration assessment of marijuana’s classification, which determines a substance’s schedule based on medical utility, potential for abuse, and safety.

The letter, dated August 29 and disclosed by Bloomberg News, outlines Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine’s stance on the matter. While numerous US states have legalized marijuana, its Schedule I status means that only the Food and Drug Administration holds the federal authority to approve it for medical use across the country.

The move comes after President Joe Biden’s efforts in October, which included pardoning past simple possession federal offenses and urging similar actions at the state level. Biden also initiated a review of marijuana’s federal scheduling by the Department of Health and Human Services secretary and the US Attorney General. As of now, neither the Health and Human Services nor the Drug Enforcement Agency has provided an immediate response.



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