Report: DEA to reclassify marijuana as less dangerous

The federal government would officially recognize medical uses for cannabis for the first time.

Cannabis will reportedly be reclassified as a less dangerous drug by the federal government. 

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will move to recategorize the drug, which would not legalize it at the federal government but would broaden access to it for medicinal use. 


The big picture: According to the report, the DEA’s proposal would recognize the medical uses of cannabis and acknowledge that there is less potential to abuse it compared to other drugs. 

  • The White House Office of Management and Budget still has to review the proposal. 
  • Currently cannabis is classified alongside heroin and LSD as a Schedule I drug. 
  • Cannabis currently has no accepted medical use under as a Schedule I drug. 
  • It would be reclassified to Schedule II, which includes ketamine and anabolic steroids. 

Driving the news: President Joe Biden has pushed for a federal review of cannabis law and has pardoned thousands of people who were convicted of marijuana possession. 

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–NY) and 20 other Democrats sent a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram and Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting that cannabis should be regulated similar to alcohol and be removed from the controlled-substances list. 

What we’re watching: While cannabis still appears to be a ways off from being legalized at the federal level, 38 states have legalized the substance for medical use, while 24 states have legalized recreational cannabis. 

  • If the government goes through with the Schedule III reclassification, cannabis dispensaries would have to register with the DEA and file reports, similar to how pharmacies operate. 
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