US Gov’t Confirms Schedule III For Cannabis

The U.S. government has unveiled over 250 pages of documents, officially acknowledging the recommendation from health officials to reclassify marijuana under federal law. This marks the first official confirmation that health officials have urged the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to place cannabis in Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

The documents, released following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by attorney Matt Zorn, detail the comprehensive eight-factor analysis conducted by federal health officials to support the rescheduling. The recommendation underscores that cannabis “has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” and has a “potential for abuse less than the drugs or other substances in Schedules I and II.”

The review revealed that over 30,000 healthcare professionals across 43 U.S. jurisdictions are authorized to recommend medical marijuana for more than six million registered patients, addressing at least 15 medical conditions. The documents emphasize the widespread experience with medical marijuana and the existence of state-authorized programs actively regulating its use and product quality.

Regarding efficacy, the documents highlight mixed findings, with a substantial evidence base supporting marijuana’s use in treating pain conditions, particularly neuropathic pain. However, the review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not find support for marijuana’s benefits in treating epilepsy or anxiety.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, commented on the release, stating, “It is another step toward the inevitable legalization of cannabis and ending this sad chapter of the failed war on drugs.”

While the recommendation is seen as progress by advocates, the final decision on rescheduling rests with the DEA. The agency has the authority to schedule, reschedule, or deschedule a drug under the CSA after considering statutory and regulatory criteria and HHS’s scientific evaluation.

The timeline for the DEA’s decision remains uncertain, and speculation abounds among cannabis advocates. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) noted in September that it was likely the DEA would follow the HHS recommendation based on past precedent.

As the nation awaits a final decision, the governors of six states and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have urged the DEA to consider the merits of legalization. The letter emphasized the importance of moving beyond Schedule III and fully removing marijuana from CSA control, reflecting the ongoing debate over the potential impact of this rescheduling on state-level legalization efforts.

Ultimately, the evolving landscape surrounding marijuana rescheduling continues to draw attention from various stakeholders, including former DEA heads and White House drug czars who express opposition, while attorneys general from a dozen states advocate for rescheduling as a “public safety imperative.” The potential shift to Schedule III raises questions about its impact on state-legal marijuana markets, with divergent opinions within the cannabis industry regarding the potential risks and benefits.

Information for this briefing was found via Marijuana Moment and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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