In the eyes of the DEA, cannabis is currently in the same category as other Schedule I drugs like heroin and LSD, meaning that it is likely to be abused and therefore has no accepted medical use.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recommended the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III controlled substance.
This move, if implemented, would significantly reduce or even eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana possession. On top of this, a move like this would save the marijuana industry hundreds of millions of dollars a year as small-business owners may now claim tax deductions for business expenses.
In contrast, Schedule III substances have a lower potential for abuse. HHS's recommendation comes in response to President Joe Biden's request last October, around the same time he pardoned thousands of Americans convicted of simple marijuana possession.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden both praised the recommendation. The U.S. Cannabis Council also expressed its support, noting the potential benefits for both the criminal justice system and the cannabis industry.
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