(UnitedVoice.com) – In October 2022, Biden issued a statement notifying the public that he’d asked Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland to conduct a review of how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. The health agency has now issued its recommendation, and Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) is celebrating the decision.
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. It’s in the same category as LSD, heroin, and ecstasy. That means the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has determined it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” People caught selling or possessing it are subject to longer prison sentences.
On August 29, an official at HHS wrote a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram asking the agency to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule III drug, a controlled substance with “potential for abuse less than substances in Schedules I or II.” Drugs in that classification include ketamine and Tylenol with Codeine.
A spokesperson for the DEA reportedly confirmed it received a request from HHS. They said the agency will start its own review process now that it has the recommendation.
A Big Win
Sen. Fetterman, a longtime advocate of marijuana legalization, issued a statement after learning the news about HHS’ letter to the DEA. The Hill reported the lawmaker called it a “massive win” for President Joe Biden’s administration. He went on to say it’s a “strong step in the right direction” and praised the admin for admitting what Americans “have known for a while” that weed shouldn’t be a Schedule I drug.
The Pennsylvania senator said reclassifying the drug “will have huge benefits” for people in his state and America, “especially our veterans who rely on it as treatment for conditions like PTSD.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the HHS recommendation the “right thing” and called on the DEA to “quickly follow through […] to greatly reduce the harm caused by draconian marijuana laws.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) guest-hosted a program on Newsmax on Labor Day and promoted drug reform. He slammed the decision to classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug in 1970. The congressman pointed out that fentanyl, which is killing tens of thousands of people annually, has a lower classification.
The White House has said the DEA’s decision will be independent. It’s not clear how long it will take, but some experts believe it could be about a year before the agency makes a decision.
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