“It could be likely” that the Drug Enforcement Administration will reschedule cannabis from a Schedule I narcotic to Schedule III, according to a report released by the Congressional Research Service on September 13, 2023. The report was published following the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended rescheduling cannabis under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
Rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule III narcotic would place it in the same category as testosterone and Tylenol with codeine.
“If marijuana is rescheduled to Schedule III, it would have broad implications for federal policy,” the Congressional Research Service report states. “Also, this move would have significant implications for state medical marijuana programs and users of medical marijuana, but fewer implications for state recreational marijuana programs and those who use marijuana recreationally. This insight discusses both the potential rescheduling and select policy implications.”
Moving cannabis to Schedule III would finally remove many of the federal restrictions that stymie the U.S. cannabis industry including tax deductions, access to banking services and interstate commerce as well as potentially allowing major stock exchanges to list U.S. cannabis businesses and international commerce between other cannabis legal countries.
“As part of this process, HHS conducted a scientific and medical evaluation for consideration by DEA. DEA has the final authority to schedule or reschedule a drug under the Controlled Substances Act. DEA will now initiate its review,” a DEA spokesperson said.
Given that President Biden’s recommendation to review the schedule of cannabis was made 11 months ago, many speculate that cannabis could be rescheduled by the November 2024 election, but the DEA is not required to meet any deadline or follow HHS recommendations.