President Biden Announces Federal Government Will Reschedule Cannabis in ‘Monumental’ Announcement

It’s official: The U.S. Department of Justice will reschedule cannabis, moving it to Schedule III, President Joe Biden announced Thursday.
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President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. Department of Justice will officially reschedule cannabis, moving it from Schedule I, reserved for dangerous drugs with no medical value, to Schedule III. The news follows the historic announcement on April 30, that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will move to reclassify cannabis under Schedule III, the Associated Press reported.

Biden, along with Vice President Kamala Harris, both recorded videos of the announcement and posted them on social media.

“This is monumental,” Biden said in a video that was posted on X. “Today my administration took a major step to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug. It’s an important move towards reversing longstanding inequities.”  

“Today’s announcement builds on the work we’ve already done to pardon a record number of federal offenses for simple possession of marijuana. And it adds to the action we’ve taken to lift barriers to housing, employment, small business loans, and so much more for tens of thousands of Americans.”

Biden continued, “No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.”

“Today’s announcement builds on the work we’ve already done to pardon a record number of federal offenses for simple possession of marijuana. I’m committed to writing those historic wrongs,” he said. “You have my word.

“Currently marijuana is classified on the same level as heroin and more dangerous than fentanyl,” Harris said in another video. “We are finally changing that. But I want to thank all of the advocates and everyone out there for helping to make this possible and we are on the road to getting it done.” 

“This recommendation validates the experiences of tens of millions of Americans, as well as tens of thousands of physicians, who have long recognized that cannabis possesses legitimate medical utility,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “But it still falls well short of the changes necessary to bring federal marijuana policy into the 21st century. Specifically, the proposed change fails to harmonize federal marijuana policy with the cannabis laws of most U.S. states, particularly the 24 states that have legalized its use and sale to adults.”

“Nevertheless, as a first step forward, this policy change dramatically shifts the political debate surrounding cannabis,” Armentano added. “Specifically, it delegitimizes many of the tropes historically exploited by opponents of marijuana policy reform. Claims that cannabis poses unique harms to health, or that it’s not useful for treating chronic pain and other ailments, have now been rejected by the very federal agencies that formerly perpetuated them. Going forward, these specious allegations should be absent from any serious conversations surrounding cannabis and how to best regulate its use.”

A 60-day comment period will soon begin to allow input on the pros and cons of Schedule III.

Questions and Shortcomings of Schedule III

Industry leaders pointed out that reclassifying cannabis under Schedule III won’t absolve the discord between federal law and dozens of medical adult-use cannabis laws at the state level. For some, the reclassification announcement leads to more questions.

“While there’s still work to be done, I’m optimistic about what this means in terms of a domino that needed to fall in order for the wave to come that we’ve all been waiting for and working towards for so long,” said Caleb Counts, CEO & Co-Founder, Connected Cannabis. “Rescheduling is a step in the right direction without question, and while it isn’t at the stage of descheduling, it’s still impactful for so many people and that doesn’t go unnoticed. Loosening taxes and regulations where customers benefit is always a win in my book.”

    “While a great step for the industry, the truth is, most of our operational challenges remain,” said Roger Volodarsky, Founder and CEO, Puffco. “A lot of people think that moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III will drive additional research in the space, but the reality is that it’s more complicated than that. In late 2022, the Medical Marijuana Expansion Research Act was passed, which essentially says that regardless of the scheduling of cannabis, the DEA still holds the final ruling of who’s allowed to research the plant, and where those research materials are coming from. So while a move to Schedule III is a huge step forward in terms of protecting our freedoms in this industry, we are still at the mercy of policy-makers. Ultimately, the goal is a complete descheduling of the plant and until that happens our fight is not over.”

        “For me, it raises more questions than solving any problems that we have,” said Christopher Louie, Co-Founder & CEO of Made in Xiaolin, a legacy cannabis operator in Colorado and soo in New York. “What does this mean from here? Great, marijuana now has medical benefits in the eyes of the government. Does this mean that in order to obtain it you need a prescription and in order to distribute or manufacture it I would need a medical license? It seems this could help out pharmaceutical companies and big businesses affiliated in the medical field, but I’m not sure how this benefits companies like ours.”

        Others commended the small step towards legalization that signals a shift in the way cannabis is viewed in the eyes of the federal government.

        “We commend the POTUS’s efforts to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III. While the fight isn’t over to legalize cannabis nationally, this is a much-needed wind in our sails that we haven’t felt in over 50 years at the federal level,” said Vince Ning, co-founder and CEO of Nabis, a leading wholesale marketplace. “As far as public commentary goes, we will certainly be providing our thoughts on how to improve this change to push for the full legalization of this controlled substance, and how to provide safe access of quality tested cannabis products to the patients in need through existing regulatory frameworks that currently exist today.”

        “President Biden characterized rescheduling as a means of reversing longstanding inequities,” said Brian Vicente, founder of Vicente LLP. “One dominating inequity cannabis businesses face is the inability to deduct regular business expenses, since they sell a Schedule 1 substance.  We work with hundreds of licensed cannabis businesses, and the ability to deduct ordinary operating costs under the Schedule 3 proposal would be a game-changer for them. This proposal will release cannabis businesses from the crippling tax burden they are currently shackled with and allow these businesses to grow and prosper.”

        “On behalf of thousands of legal businesses operating across the country, we commend President Biden for taking this important first step toward a more rational marijuana policy. Now it’s time for Congress to enact legislation that would protect our industry, uphold public safety, and advance the will of the voters who overwhelmingly support making cannabis legal for adults,” said Aaron Smith, NCIA CEO & co-founder. “Rescheduling alone does not fix our nation’s state and federal cannabis policy conflict. Only Congress can enact the legislation needed to fully respect the states and advance the will of the vast majority of voters who support legal cannabis.”

        There will then be a 60-day public comment period before the rule is potentially finalized.

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        4 comments
        1. GREAT NEWS,
          THE PRESIDENT FINALLY OVERRIDES THE DEA POWER (BRIEFLY), BUT…

          This move is undeniably a correct and just move, since no-one can deny that cannabis (or more specifically the cannabinoids within it) have many medical uses.

          The real problem with this situation is:
          (1) the whole scheduling/classification system set up by a lying criminal president who should have become the first to be prosecuted (Richard Nixon)
          &
          (2) The legal powers of the DEA to define the scheduling laws, given to them by (you guessed it) the same lying criminal president Nixon.

          Absolutely none of the substances or organisms currently in schedule 1 belong there, because they all have medical properties, and to suggest that becuase something is addictive it has no medical value is just non-sense. For example Heroin is no more addictive than Morphine and is the number one child birth drug in the UK. Then there’s things like LSD and the Peyote cactus which are not addictive at all (they can both cure addiction) and they possess such little toxicity that no-one’s even died from them!

          The absolute stupidity of the scheduling system was highlighted by Harris stating how Cannabis is currently classified as more dangerous than Fentanyl because it’s in schedule 1.
          In fact being in schedule 1 does define it (according to the DEA) as more addictive and more dangerous than both Methamphetamine and Fentanyl, simply because both those substances were proven to have medical uses many decades ago. The only reason Heroin (aka diacetyl-Morphine) is not in a lower schedule and thus allowed for medical use in the USA is purely a subject of political history and the totally unscientific way that drug prohibition laws were hastily created in the early 20th century by ignorant politicians.
          That needs to change and the sooner the better, because all of society is negatively effected when substances are prohibited from medical use based entirely on lies and anti-drug rhetoric with no basis on established medicine.
          Every woman who’s suffered pain during childbirth and every alcoholic who’s struggled with addiction should be angry that they are denied even the possibility of better medical treatment in the form of a doctor administering Heroin or LSD respectively.

          JUST REMEMBER A VOTE FOR TRUMP IS A VOTE AGAINST LOGIC AS WELL AS SCIENCE AND THAT HE WOULD NEVER HAVE APPROVED THIS MOVE

        2. Big Pharma is completely taking over marijuana industry with this move. This is another smoke screen move.

          Who do you think now will get licensing from DEA…

          Look at the comment above……pure confirmation bias

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