Attorney general moves to reclassify marijuana as lower-risk drug, officials say

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Attorney General seeks to reclassify marijuana as lower-risk drug, officials confirm

General Merrick Garland Advocates Loosening Restrictions on Marijuana in Historic Policy Shift

 

Attorney general moves to reclassify marijuana as lower-risk drug, officials say

In a significant development in federal drug policy, Attorney General Merrick Garland has recommended easing restrictions on marijuana, marking a potential turning point in the nation's approach to cannabis. 


While the measure does not amount to federal legalization, it could pave the way for expanded access to medical marijuana and bolster cannabis industries in states where it's already legal. This move aligns with President Biden's efforts to address racial and criminal justice disparities stemming from the country's longstanding war on drugs.

 

The Justice Department formally submitted the recommendation to the White House on Tuesday, following the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) approval of the Department of Health and Human Services' suggestion to reclassify marijuana. Although the White House Office of Management and Budget must review the measure before any implementation, the proposed change signals a significant departure from the status quo.

 

For over five decades, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, alongside heroin, due to its perceived high potential for abuse and lack of accepted medical use. The proposed reclassification would shift marijuana to Schedule III, placing it in the same category as certain prescription drugs like ketamine and testosterone, reflecting a reassessment of its relative risks and benefits.

 

This shift in federal policy comes amid a changing landscape regarding marijuana accessibility and acceptance. With the majority of Americans residing in states where marijuana is legal in some form, and a growing industry worth billions of dollars, the move reflects evolving attitudes toward the drug. Furthermore, President Biden's directive to expedite a review of marijuana's classification underscores a broader shift in national priorities regarding drug policy.

 

While the reclassification may not drastically alter criminal justice proceedings related to marijuana, it signals a shift in federal attitudes toward the drug. Cannabis advocates have lauded the move as a significant step toward normalization and federal recognition of marijuana's medicinal benefits. However, concerns remain regarding the federal government's continued enforcement of marijuana-related laws, despite increasing acceptance at the state level.

 

The potential reclassification also holds economic implications, particularly for cannabis businesses facing burdensome tax regulations. Under current IRS code, marijuana businesses cannot deduct business expenses, leading to higher tax rates. Reclassification would make these businesses eligible for tax breaks, potentially alleviating financial pressures and promoting industry growth.

 

Politically, the move could serve as a boon for the Biden administration, appealing to younger voters and signaling a commitment to progressive drug policies. While the decision is not without its critics, including former federal law enforcement officials and conservative lawmakers, it represents a significant departure from previous administrations' approaches to marijuana regulation.

 

As the nation navigates this pivotal moment in drug policy, the potential reclassification of marijuana underscores broader shifts in societal attitudes toward cannabis and reflects ongoing efforts to address longstanding inequities in the criminal justice system.

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CRN News Update - Latest Breaking News: Attorney general moves to reclassify marijuana as lower-risk drug, officials say
Attorney general moves to reclassify marijuana as lower-risk drug, officials say
Attorney General seeks to reclassify marijuana as lower-risk drug, officials confirm
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