Can the Biden Administration Deschedule Cannabis?


Last month, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker requested that the U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland, initiate proceedings under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to deschedule cannabis. This would, as the letter to Garland says, “decriminalize” marijuana. The CSA’s Power The letter outlines the hypocrisy of marijuana’s current classification as a Schedule I substance, which is reserved for the most dangerous drugs: The CSA imposes criminal penalties for the use and distribution of certain drugs that vary in severity according to each drug’s “schedule.” A Schedule I drug is classified as having “no currently accepted medical use” and “a high potential for abuse.” Currently, the CSA classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance, alongside substances like heroin and ecstasy. In contrast, arguably more harmful substances such as cocaine and OxyContin are classified as Schedule II substances, which are less stringently regulated. (Citations omitted). The portion of the CSA that empowers the Attorney General (AG) to schedule substances is codified as Title 21 of the U.S. Code, Section 811 (21 USC 811). Under that statute, the “Attorney General may by rule, remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.” 21 USC 811(a)(2). Before initiating rulemaking to remove a drug from a schedule, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must evaluate the substance. If the HHS Secretary recommends descheduling a drug, that decision is binding on the Attorney General. However, if the HHS Secretary recommends that the substance be rescheduled or remain in the current schedule, that is not binding on the AG. For the purpose of the CSA, the Attorney General delegates its power to the DEA and the HHS delegates its power to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Where…

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Source : Can the Biden Administration Deschedule Cannabis?

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