It is a historic development that the nation’s top health organization no longer views marijuana as a substance with a high potential for abuse and no discernible medical benefit, and instead recommends that it be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III under federal law.
The first to report the development was Bloomberg. According to Bloomberg, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, who supported medical cannabis as Pennsylvania’s health secretary before joining the Biden administration, wrote a letter to DEA regarding the Schedule III recommendation on Tuesday and cited FDA’s review.
“Following the data and science, HHS has expeditiously responded to President Biden’s directive to HHS Secretary Becerra and provided its scheduling recommendation for marijuana to the DEA on August 29, 2023,” an HHS spokesperson said in a statement to Marijuana Moment on Wednesday. “This administrative process was completed in less than 11 months, reflecting this department’s collaboration and leadership to ensure that a comprehensive scientific evaluation be completed and shared expeditiously.”
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HHS is now informing the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that it thinks marijuana should be added to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) after completing a scientific evaluation of cannabis on President Joe Biden’s order from last year. Although DEA has the last say and the advice is not binding, the scientific study and rising political support for cannabis reform may well persuade DEA to make the adjustment.
However, the schedule III drug, cannabis would still remain federally prohibited.
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