May 17, 2024

DEA Proposes Rule That Would Reclassify Marijuana From Schedule I to Schedule III

DENVER — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration proposed a new rule Thursday that would move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act.

Statement from Shawn Hauser, partner at Vicente LLP, who closely follows the drug scheduling process:

“The DEA’s proposal to reclassify cannabis sets the stage for what would be a colossal shift in U.S. drug policy. After more than 50 years, the agency is finally acknowledging that cannabis has significant medical value and ought to be treated as such. Moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III is not the last step—but it is a crucial step—in ending marijuana prohibition once and for all.  

“The accompanying memorandum of opinion from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office is particularly poignant and refreshingly honest. It lifts the veil on the DEA’s longstanding efforts to obstruct progress on cannabis policy reform, and it could have long-term impacts on DEA’s approach to classifying substances.

“For decades, the agency applied an unlawfully narrow standard of what constitutes medical use and treatment in order to keep marijuana illegal. The memo highlights how current federal marijuana policy erroneously equates medical use with FDA approval rather than with its legitimate medical use in treatment, which is being practiced across the U.S. A substance’s medical value should be determined by the medical community, and the medical community has widely acknowledged the medical value of cannabis for decades. Moving cannabis to Schedule III is a more intellectually honest policy that could lend to more marijuana research and the advancement of state medical cannabis programs.” 

About Vicente LLP
Vicente LLP is a top-ranked national cannabis law firm. It was founded in Denver in 2010 and has nearly 60 professionals across offices in California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, and Texas. An industry trailblazer, the firm has been at the leading edge of drug policy for more than a decade, helping public and private sector clients shape, implement, and navigate marijuana, hemp, and psychedelics laws and regulations across the U.S. and around the world. It has been ranked a Nationwide Band 1 law firm by Chambers and Partners since 2019, and it received the Chambers USA Award for “Cannabis Law – Law Firm of the Year” both years it was awarded.