WASHINGTON – In a significant shift in federal drug policy, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recommended reclassifying cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance, acknowledging the plant’s medical utility. This recommendation, revealed through documents obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, is now pending approval from President Biden.
The proposed reclassification of cannabis would mark a notable change in how the federal government views and regulates the substance. Currently, as a Schedule I drug, cannabis is classified alongside heroin and LSD, substances deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Moving cannabis to Schedule II, which includes drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine that are considered dangerous but have medicinal value, could have far-reaching implications.
If President Biden approves the HHS recommendation, the reclassification could significantly alter federal legal actions related to cannabis. It would also potentially open the door for more extensive interstate trade of cannabis for medical purposes, which is currently restricted due to its Schedule I status.
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