This bud’s for you: Biden easing restrictions on cannabis by reclassifying drug

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By BRETT ROWLAND | THE CENTER SQUARE

President Joe Biden’s administration plans to ease federal restrictions on cannabis by reclassifying the drug for the first time in half a century. 

The Biden administration plans to announce an interim rule soon reclassifying the drug for the first time since the Controlled Substances Act was enacted more than 50 years ago, according to media reports confirmed by NBC News

For decades, cannabis has been classified as a Schedule I drug, a class defined as drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule 1 drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy and methaqualone, the hypnotic sedative sold under the brand name Quaalude before it was discontinued in the 1980s.

Under the plan, cannabis would be reclassified as a Schedule III drug, defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Other Schedule III drugs include products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit, ketamine, anabolic steroids and testosterone.

The election-year move comes after Biden has repeatedly promised to reschedule cannabis since 2019.

During his State of the Union address earlier this year, Biden said he would be “directing my Cabinet to review the federal classification of marijuana, and expunging thousands of convictions for mere possession, because no one should be jailed for using or possessing marijuana.”

Rescheduling the drug could open the door to pharmaceutical company investment in the $34 billion cannabis industry in states where it is legal. 

Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, called it a “modest step.”

“This is a positive step forward for federal cannabis policy, however it is a rather modest step given the strong support among American voters for comprehensive cannabis reform,” he said in a statement. “It is important to acknowledge that this rescheduling would not affect the criminalization of medical cannabis patients and cannabis consumers under state laws – so we must continue the work of enacting sensible and fair cannabis legalization and medical cannabis laws through state legislatures and ballot initiatives.”

Reclassifying the drug could also ease tax burdens for the companies that sell it, said David Goubert, president and CEO of AYR Wellness, a public company based in Florida.

“This represents the most significant step towards federal cannabis reform in U.S. history and will provide much needed relief to operators of all shapes and sizes, allowing us fair tax treatment by eliminating 280E, in addition to allowing for additional research into the medical efficacy of cannabis,” he said in a statement. “AYR Wellness, along with many of its peers, continues to advocate for the full de-scheduling of cannabis, and feel today’s news represents positive progress towards that eventual outcome.”

34 COMMENTS

    • I’ve wondered about that. Usually you can smell Stoney Moose in Ketchikan long before you see it.

      • The strange thing to me is, skunky smells (like today’s pot, or the ethanedithiol that is put in natural gas to make it smell) are invariably sulfur-containing compounds. Yet THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is NOT a sulfur-containing compound.

        So where did the stink in contemporary marijuana come from, and why can’t it be bred out? Or more to the point, why has it not already been bred out in the first place?

  1. He will do anything for a vote! It’s his last ditch effort. Who’s looking forward to his debate with Trump? It’ll be a hoot😂

  2. I am surprised he has not legalized coke as that’s his son’s favorite food.
    Whose coke was in the White House?
    We all know who’s it was.

  3. Let’s keep our youth and young adults anesthetized even farther so they can’t make any decisions. Maybe put Joe Biden’s name in pink on the ballot should get him some more votes too.

    • This is along my thought-line also! Keep everyone so stoned that no one cares about the government locking them down and removing all of their livelihood. I do think that marijuana has medicinal uses; but, easing restrictions during this illegal,foreign regime’s stronghold on America is not a good time for people to be thinking that this is a far-out and groovy situation man.

    • You should look into the drug use during weimar Germany. The masses dulled themselves to the problems they faced until hyperinflation took away everything.

      • I am not certain that the situations are comparable, as the Weimar Republic had to deal with the atrocious reparation demands following WWI, a chaotic government with too many small parties (which is why today’s Germany requires any party to achieve at least 5% of the vote to have a seat at the table) and a destroyed economy after the war. Then you also had a very high suicide rate.
        In principle this move by Biden more likely compares to the “bread and circuses” of Roman times.

  4. First step to Federal Taxation and control of industry. Uncle Sam has been missing out on taxable income. Controlling a mind altering drug that the voters buy and consume is profitable in more than one way. Weed these days has been genetically altered ,,,,, it a’int your Granddaddy’s pot. China is a big part of the California grow operations. The Generational damage done by the public schools , covid lockdowns, social media and pot will be devastating.

  5. States left and right are legalizing it. Maybe he thinks he is just catching up to the rest of the country. What good is a law if everyone ignores it and it is seldom enforced? Gleaning votes from the ruling could be seen as progress.

    • Legalizing a product just because people ignore the law is not a solution. Next generation thinks it’s ok to use because it’s legal. Newest generation is the largest user of this product and studies now are showing how bad it is for kid’s brains growing up. Letting it get a foot hold by being “legal” is a terrible idea.

      But a lot of progressive liberals own these pot shops so all they care about is the money.

      • That is true. However, there are many things from tobacco to aspirin which are bad for people.

        Get the information out there and let adults make adult decisions. And live with adult consequences.

  6. He really wants that vote! Obama started loosing weed laws too once the young voters turned on him. We see who is the pulling the puppet strings here.

  7. I would hope this would make marijuana businesses able to use banks, but no one is reporting on that aspect of it.

    I also hope that current marijuana businesses are not going to be overrun by pharmaceutical companies on this.

  8. As it should have been a long time ago. It is absurd that marijuana is a Schedule I drug while cocaine is Schedule II – the difference being that Schedule I drugs are supposed to have “no accepted medical use” even though marijuana and THC do have accepted medical uses according to everyone except the federal government.

  9. 1. Biden is a traitor, pedophile, and criminal.
    2. TRUMP 2024!
    3. Cannabis should have never been a schedule 1 in the 1st place.
    4.Cannabis was made by God and is a gift that the governement has no natural right to restirct.
    5. Cannabis is the 1 issue where “Conservatives” turn into brainwashed leftists and comnunists.

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