DEA plans to reclassify marijuana as less dangerous drug, according to several news sources

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) plans to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, according to several news outlets. The Associated Press reports that the proposal would recognize the medical uses of cannabis and state that it has less potential for abuse than some other drugs, such as heroin. However, it would not legalize marijuana for recreational use.

If implemented, marijuana would transition from being categorized as a Schedule I drug to Schedule III, which is the classification for ketamine and some anabolic steroids.

This potential reclassification follows a recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services to the DEA last year, advocating for marijuana’s rescheduling. The initiative gained momentum after President Joe Biden’s call to review federal marijuana laws in October 2022, coupled with his push to pardon thousands of Americans convicted of minor marijuana offenses.

“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana.  It’s time that we right these wrongs,” Biden said in a press release.

While the DEA’s proposal marks a significant step, it’s not set in stone just yet. Before any changes take effect, the proposal must undergo review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.