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U.S. Rep Blumenauer Presses DEA for Details on Plans to Reschedule Cannabis

The lawmaker is asking for a timeline for draft rules to be published and submitted to public comment.

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U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sent a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) pressing for details on the agency's plans to reschedule cannabis as recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) places various substances in five schedules. Cannabis currently sits in Schedule I alongside heroin and LSD. Schedule I substances are defined as drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. HHS has recommended moving cannabis to Schedule III with other substances considered to have moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence along with currently accepted uses for medical treatment.

RELATED: 12 State Attorneys General Urge DEA to Reschedule Cannabis

"Moving marijuana to Schedule III as [HHS] recommended in their August 2023 letter, made publicly available in January, would be an important step in the right direction. However, moving marijuana to Schedule III is not sufficient to correct the wrongs of federal prohibition or to meaningfully address the federal-state gap on cannabis policy," he wrote.

As the DEA continues its review, Blumenauer is pushing for the following clarifications:

  • What is DEA’s planned deadline to publish its draft rule on the scheduling of marijuana for public comment?
  • What is the standard timeline for DEA’s drug scheduling reviews?
  • On what date did DEA begin its review following receipt of HHS’s findings and recommendation on marijuana scheduling?
  • How is DEA ensuring the agency’s review incorporates the status of marijuana under state laws and regulations in its scheduling decision?
  • How will DEA proactively communicate developments and receive feedback from congressional partners as the review proceeds?

RELATED: Democratic Senators Urge DEA to Reschedule Cannabis

"While Congress works to send the President comprehensive cannabis legislation, the urgency of full descheduling should inform DEA’s position on overall cannabis reform. Appropriate enforcement should be centered on advancing public safety, not unjust criminalization," wrote Blumenauer. "Marijuana’s continued inappropriate scheduling is both arcane and out-of-touch with the will of the American people. I look forward to your response and DEA’s continued communication to work transparently and proactively with Congress to adopt this crucial step."

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