Biden Announces Move To Relax Marijuana Restrictions

President Joe Biden, center, departs after delivering the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Washington. (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP)

President Joe Biden is officially moving forward with plans to loosen federal marijuana restrictions.

Biden announced on Thursday his administration plans to reclassify cannabis from the most restrictive category on the federal list of illegal drugs to a moderately restrictive category.

“This is monumental,” Biden said in a video posted to X about the reclassification — which was first reported prior to the announcement by POLITICO. “Today, my administration took a major step to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 3 drug.”

It is the next step in the rescheduling process begun by Biden in October 2022, and follows a recommendation by the Department of Health and Human Services in August to reclassify marijuana.

The move would not make marijuana federally legal, but would lessen the tax burden on state-legal cannabis companies and make marijuana easier to research.

Marijuana currently is a Schedule I drug on the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I is the most severe classification, meaning the drug is considered to have no medical use and high potential for abuse. The DOJ decision to reclassify would move cannabis to Schedule III — a category that means it’s determined to have both medical benefits and some potential for abuse.

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