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420 with CNW — Reports Confirm DEA Is Close to Reclassifying Marijuana

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is set to change the classification of cannabis. The proposal, pending review by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), acknowledges marijuana’s medical potential and implies that it is less prone to abuse compared to other certain drugs. However, it does not advocate for the complete legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.

The move, disclosed by anonymous sources familiar with the matter, signals a major policy change for the DEA and a shift in U.S. drug policy. Once approved, the agency will invite public feedback on moving cannabis from Schedule I to III, aligning it with substances such as certain steroids and ketamine, as recommended by the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS). Following public commentary and administrative review, a final ruling will be issued.

In a statement, Xochitl Hinojosa, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) director of public affairs, confirmed the circulation of a proposal to reclassify cannabis, emphasizing the formal rulemaking process it would initiate upon publication by the Federal Register.

This development follows President Joseph Biden’s call for a federal cannabis law review in 2022, coupled with efforts to pardon numerous individuals convicted of minor cannabis possession charges. Further, the announcement, strategically timed for an election year, may bolster Biden’s support, especially among younger demographics.

Biden, alongside bipartisan lawmakers, has long since advocated for the DEA’s decision as public acceptance of cannabis grows, as reflected in a recent Gallup poll showing that 70% of American adults support legalization, a stark increase from 2000. Despite reclassification to Schedule III, cannabis would still be regulated and subject to federal laws. Critics argue against altering marijuana’s classification, fearing adverse effects, while proponents advocate for treating it as alcohol is treated.

While many states have moved ahead with cannabis legalization, federal reform has lagged. This has led to the rapid growth of the cannabis industry, estimated to be worth nearly $30 billion. Relaxing federal laws could alleviate the significant tax burden on businesses and facilitate research on marijuana, currently hindered by its Schedule I status. The immediate impact on the justice system might be limited, as federal prosecutions for simple possession are infrequent. However, loosening restrictions could have unintended consequences in the ongoing war on drugs.

Critics also highlight logistical challenges, such as the DEA’s capacity to regulate thousands of dispensaries currently in operation across the country. Additionally, the U.S. international obligations, particularly the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, pose a significant obstacle. Previous attempts to reschedule cannabis, citing international obligations, were denied during the Obama administration.

This anticipated reclassification could open up more opportunities not only for marijuana companies but also ancillary companies, such as Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. (NYSE: IIPR), that serve plant-touching businesses.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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