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US government introduces legislation to redefine marijuana as a ‘low-risk substance’

President Joe Biden’s administration has officially suggested reclassifying marijuana to a low-risk substance, marking a historic change that would align federal policy more closely with public sentiment.

The United States Department of Justice has taken steps to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug, thereby designating it as less dangerous.

Since 1970, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), placing it in the same category as heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. This classification indicates that marijuana is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

low-risk substance
Source: Marijuana Moment

However, under the proposed changes, marijuana would be reclassified as a Schedule III drug, grouping it with substances like ketamine and codeine-containing painkillers, which are seen as having a moderate to low risk of dependence. 

However, reclassifying marijuana requires a process where the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will collect and review public input to decide on the appropriate classification. Until this process is completed and a final rule is issued, marijuana will remain a Schedule I controlled substance.Although this reclassification wouldn’t legalize marijuana, it could result in fewer federal arrests. 

This topic is viewed as a possible advantage for Biden in his reelection bid against Republican Donald Trump, particularly among younger demographics that the Democratic candidate is finding challenging to attract.

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 88 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for either medical purposes or recreational use. Only 11 percent of respondents were against legalization entirely. This step indicates a notable change in public policy and perceptions regarding cannabis in recent times.

low-risk substance
Source: Yahoo News UK

The increasing trend towards legalization reflects a greater acknowledgment of the potential medical advantages of cannabis and a more widespread acceptance of its recreational use. These shifts are ongoing, with more states contemplating legalization and federal evaluations of cannabis laws in progress.

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