The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will reclassify marijuana in a historic move, AP sources said

National News

WASHINGTON (AP) – The US Drug Enforcement Agency will do a reclassification marijuana The Associated Press has learned that drug use as a less dangerous drug is a historic shift in generations of American drug policy that would have far-reaching effects across the country.

The DEA proposal, which still must be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget, would recognize this the medical use of cannabis and recognize that it carries a lower potential for abuse than a number of the country's most dangerous drugs. However, it will not fully legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The agency's move, confirmed to the AP on Tuesday by five people conversant in the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to debate the sensitive regulatory review, removes the last significant regulatory hurdle before the agency's biggest policy shift effect has been possible for greater than 50 years.

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Once OMB approves, the DEA will take public comment on the plan to remove marijuana from its current classification as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD. It moves cannabis to Schedule III alongside ketamine and a few anabolic steroids. follow a advice from the federal Department of Health and Human Services. After the general public comment period ends, the agency would publish the ultimate rule.

This got here after President Joe Biden called for and passed a review of federal marijuana law in October 2022 Forgive hundreds of Americans federally convicted of straightforward drug possession. He has also called on governors and native leaders to take similar steps to expunge marijuana convictions.

“Criminal records for marijuana use and possession have created unnecessary barriers to employment, housing and educational opportunities,” Biden said in December. “Too many lives have been upended by our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time we right this wrong.”

The election yr announcement could help Biden, a Democrat, shore up dwindling support, particularly amongst voters younger voters.

Biden and a growing variety of lawmakers from each major political parties are pushing for the DEA decision as marijuana becomes increasingly decriminalized and accepted, particularly by younger people. A Gallup poll last fall found that 70% of adults support legalization, the best the pollster has ever recorded and greater than double the roughly 30% who supported it in 2000.

Schedule III drugs are still controlled substances and are subject to rules and regulations, and other people who deal in them with out a license can still be prosecuted.

Some critics argue that the DEA mustn’t change course on marijuana because rescheduling is unnecessary and could lead on to harmful negative effects.

Jack Riley, a former DEA deputy administrator, said he had concerns concerning the proposed change because he believed marijuana remained a possible “gateway drug” that could lead on to the usage of other drugs.

“But if we make it clear that we can use our resources to combat other important drugs, that is positive,” Riley said, noting that fentanyl alone is chargeable for greater than 100,000 deaths within the U.S. annually.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, others argue that marijuana needs to be treated the identical as alcohol.

Last week, 21 Democrats led by Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York sent a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram and Attorney General Merrick Garland arguing that marijuana needs to be faraway from the list of controlled substances and as an alternative as Alcohol needs to be regulated.

“It is time for the DEA to act,” the lawmakers wrote. “Right now, the administration has an opportunity to find a solution to more than 50 years of failed, racially discriminatory marijuana policies.”

Federal drug policy has lagged behind many states in recent times, with 38 already legalizing medical marijuana 24 Legalization of its recreational use.

This has contributed to the rapid growth of the marijuana industry, with an estimated value of nearly $30 billion. Easing federal regulations could reduce the tax burden on businesses by 70% or more, based on industry groups. It could also make research into marijuana easier, since it is extremely difficult to conduct approved clinical trials on Schedule I substances.

The immediate impact of a brand new rule on the country's criminal justice system would likely be more muted, as federal prosecutions for easy possession have been relatively rare in recent times.

But easing restrictions could have numerous unintended consequences within the drug war and beyond.

Critics indicate that marijuana would proceed to be regulated by the DEA as a Schedule III drug. This implies that the roughly 15,000 cannabis pharmacies within the US would need to register with the DEA like regular pharmacies and meet strict reporting requirements, something they’re reluctant to do and the DEA is ill-equipped to do

Then there are the United States' international treaty obligations, most notably the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which requires the criminalization of cannabis. In 2016, throughout the Obama administration, the DEA cited U.S. international obligations and the findings of a federal appeals court in Washington when it rejected an analogous marijuana switch request.

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