DEA, DOJ Publish Proposal to Reschedule Cannabis & Open Public Comment Period

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice on Tuesday published the rule proposal for moving cannabis to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The publication kicks off a 61-day public comment period, a CSA requirement.

Full story after the jump.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice on Tuesday published the proposed rule to downgrade cannabis from a Schedule I to Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The proposed rule, which is backed by the Biden Administration, seeks to “transfer marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to Schedule III of the CSA, consistent with the view of the Department of Health and Human Services that marijuana has a currently accepted medical use as well as HHS’s views about marijuana’s abuse potential and level of physical or psychological dependence.”

“If the transfer to schedule III is finalized, the regulatory controls applicable to schedule III controlled substances would apply, as appropriate, along with existing marijuana-specific requirements and any additional controls that might be implemented, including those that might be implemented to meet U.S. treaty obligations. If marijuana is transferred into schedule III, the manufacture, distribution, dispensing, and possession of marijuana would remain subject to the applicable criminal prohibitions of the CSA. Any drugs containing a substance within the CSA’s definition of ‘marijuana’ would also remain subject to the applicable prohibitions in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” — Schedules of Controlled Substances: Rescheduling of Marijuana, May 21, 2024 

The publication of the proposed rule and 61-day comment period is required under the CSA.

In a statement, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said the organization will be submitting its “own comprehensive comments substantiating the evidentiary record that cannabis possesses accepted medical utility and comparatively low dependence liability” and “will also be addressing a number of the issues raised by political opponents with respect to cannabis’ impact on public health, making it clear that these concerns do not warrant the continued classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance.”

“NORML is in a unique position to mobilize interested parties to provide their perspectives throughout the public comment period and we will be encouraging advocates and experts to do so in the coming weeks,” Armentano said in the statement. “In particular, it is important that the voices of both physicians and patients are heard and considered, as the Justice Department weighed the real-world experiences of doctors and their patients in medical cannabis states when making their recommendation to reclassify.”

The public comment period ends July 22.

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