President Biden’s Department of Justice takes historic steps to reclassify marijuana, aiming to end a ‘failed approach’ and recognize its medical benefits, sparking mixed reactions from lawmakers and advocates.

By Alexis Sterling, Nation of Change

The Department of Justice has formally initiated the process to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III substance, marking a significant shift in U.S. drug policy. This move, announced by President Joe Biden on Thursday, aims to rectify decades of stringent regulation that placed marijuana in the same category as heroin and LSD.

joe biden and marijuana leaf

Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1971, indicating it is considered to have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. The DOJ’s proposal, which has been submitted to the Federal Register, seeks to reclassify marijuana under Schedule III, alongside substances like testosterone and steroids. This reclassification acknowledges marijuana’s medical benefits and its relatively lower potential for abuse compared to Schedule I drugs.

The proposal has kicked off a 60-day public comment period, during which stakeholders can submit their views. Following this period, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is expected to review the feedback and issue a final order on the reclassification. Public hearings may also be held if requested by interested parties.

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