What Does the Proposed Downgrade of Marijuana to Schedule III Mean?

Woman smoking marijuana

Are you familiar with the term Schedule III drugs? Anyone who isn’t well-versed in the law may be hearing this term for the first time. It’s significant because the Biden Administration recently proposed to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. In terms of marijuana, federal drug policy has lagged many states, as 38 have legalized medical marijuana and 24 have made it legal to use recreationally.

Hello High Dispensary offers a carefully curated selection of cannabis products designed for your well-being. Here, we dive into recent developments in the legality of marijuana.

What Is a Schedule III Drug?

Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five distinct categories or schedules, depending on the drug’s acceptable medical use and its potential for abuse or dependency. The abuse rate of a drug is a determining factor in the scheduling. Drugs in Schedule I have the highest potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological or physical dependence, whereas drugs in Schedule V represent the least potential.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Examples of drugs currently categorized as Schedule III include products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone.

How Did This Come About?

Since 1970 when Congress enacted the Controlled Substance Act and it was signed into law by then President Richard Nixon, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I drug. On October 6, 2022, President Biden requested the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a scientific review of the federal classification of marijuana. This move came after President Biden moved to pardon thousands of Americans convicted on federal charges of simple possession of the drug.

After receiving recommendations from HHS, the Attorney General sought legal advice from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) regarding relevant questions for this process. Taking into account HHS’ medical and scientific findings, as well as OLC’s legal advice, the Attorney General used his authority under the law to begin the process of reclassifying marijuana to Schedule III.

What Does This All Mean?

The proposed reclassification of marijuana from a Schedule I drug to Schedule III indicates a significant shift in how the federal government views the substance. A reclassification is an acknowledgment by the federal government that marijuana poses a lower potential for abuse than previously thought.

However, as groundbreaking as this proposal is, it would not legalize marijuana and cannabis-infused products outright for recreational use. Schedule III drugs are still controlled substances in the eyes of the law and are subject to rules and regulations. Anyone found trafficking a Schedule III drug without proper permission would still be likely to face criminal prosecution.

Furthermore, marijuana classified as a Schedule III drug would remain regulated by the DEA. That means cannabis dispensaries, such as Hello High Dispensary, would be required to register with the DEA like regular pharmacies and fulfill strict reporting requirements.

What’s Next?

Before the proposal can go into effect and marijuana is officially classified as a Schedule III drug, there’s a lengthy approval process that must happen first. The formal rescheduling of a controlled substance involves an official rulemaking procedure that includes providing notice to the public, allowing for comments, and holding an administrative hearing. 

As President Biden’s proposal initiates the process, the DEA will need to collect and review information and opinions from the public to determine the appropriate scheduling of marijuana. Until a final rule is published, marijuana will continue to be classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Stay Informed on Marijuana’s Drug Schedule

Hello High Dispensary offers customers a wide variety of recreational cannabis products, such as pre-rolls, edibles, vapes, and more. All our products are carefully selected with the well-being of our customers in mind. Our trained cannabis concierges can assist customers who wish to make cannabis a part of their self-care journey. 

In addition to our products, we aim to inform our customers about new developments in cannabis, including the drug schedule of marijuana. With a highly trained staff of bud-tenders, Hello High Dispensary can answer customers’ questions regarding cannabis.

To make the shopping experience a breeze, we also offer free delivery throughout the South Jersey area with a minimum $50 purchase. Contact us today at Hello High Dispensary to learn more.


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