DEA reviews lowering classification of marijuana

Cannabis marijuana leaf

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday asked the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to lower the federally defined risk level of marijuana.

Bloomberg was the first to report the news Wednesday after HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra wrote on social media about delivering an unspecified “scheduling recommendation” for marijuana to the DEA.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote later that day that the recommendation was to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III controlled substance.

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Why does this matter? The DEA considers marijuana a Schedule I drug, a substance believed to have no accepted medicinal benefits. Heroin and LSD are also Schedule I drugs. Schedule II drugs—such as fentanyl or morphine—may have some medicinal benefits while having certain risks for creating dependency.

According to Schumer, HHS requested marijuana be reclassified to a Schedule III drug, classifying it as a less addictive controlled substance, alongside anabolic steroids, testosterone, or ketamine.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2023, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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