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What Would Descheduling Cannabis Mean? And Other Questions On Federal Cannabis Law, Answered.

by Hearst Blogger Network

Green State

November 29, 2022

Right now, cannabis is legal only in certain states. At the federal level, it remains illegal. But when President Biden pardoned thousands of American citizens convicted of cannabis crimes in October of this year, he also asked the secretary of Health and Human Services and the U.S. attorney general to reevaluate how cannabis is scheduled under federal law. Since then, there’s been a lot of talk about “rescheduling” or “descheduling” the drug.

Rescheduling and descheduling are words long held in the lexicon of experienced cannabis consumers. But for those new to cannabis and US drug law, they probably sound like jibberish. What’s the difference between rescheduling and descheduling? Would descheduling make cannabis legal?

What does it mean that cannabis is currently a Schedule I drug?

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act went into action. Cannabis was classified as Schedule I. This means that it is a drug with no accepted medical use and has a high risk of abuse. Other substances that are Schedule I include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, methaqualone (Quaaludes), peyote, and psilocybin mushrooms.

The Schedule I classification for marijuana is a significant issue for the growth of the cannabis industry. Rescheduling cannabis to even Schedule II would allow cannabis research and development to take place more easily.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has long argued that cannabis should stay on the Schedule I list. Other agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say that cannabis should get descheduled or rescheduled to Schedule II or Schedule III due to its medical benefits.

And then, there’s the argument that it should be removed from the jurisdiction of the Controlled Substances Act altogether. This is what people are referencing when you hear the word “descheduling.”

What would descheduling cannabis mean?

In 2018, the US Farm Bill removed cannabis products containing less than 0.3 percent THC from the jurisdiction of the Controlled Substances Act, thereby descheduling most hemp and CBD products. This act essentially made CBD and hemp products legal for possession, cultivaiton, and sale throughout the US.

If cannabis were to be descheduled, this is what would happen with all cannabis products. Essentially, descheduling cannabis would make it a legal drug...

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