The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is officially recommending that marijuana be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III under federal law—a historic development that means the top health agency no longer considers cannabis to be a drug with high abuse potential and no medical value.
After completing a scientific review into cannabis under a directive from President Joe Biden last year, HHS is now telling the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that it believes marijuana should be placed in Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act, Bloomberg first reported. The recommendation is not binding, and DEA has the final say, but the scientific analysis may well influence DEA to make the change.
As a Schedule III drug, cannabis would still remain federally prohibited. However, the rescheduling would have major implications for researchers who’ve long criticized the Schedule I classification that creates significant barriers to access for studies.
Moving cannabis to Schedule III would also unlock marijuana industry tax opportunities that are currently unavailable.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra told Marijuana Moment in June that his agency was aiming to wrap up the review by the end of the year.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.