Very promising news for the cannabis industry today, and many are calling it historic. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recommending that the cannabis schedule be changed from Schedule I to Schedule III.the news is Bloomberg first reportedbut to further extend (add without paywall) Marijuana Moments with comments from the DEA, HHS, and the White House.
Many cannabis stocks across the market saw their trading prices rise significantly following news of the advisory. Industry stakeholders and trade associations across the board seem to share similar sentiments. Not enthusiastic or celebratory, but cautious optimism. The move doesn’t mean the federal government will legalize cannabis, but it does signal a willingness to work with the industry.
Cannabis’ current Schedule I status means that the DEA and federal government consider cannabis to have no medical value, classify it as heroin or cocaine, and have a high potential for abuse. Moving this to Schedule III would mean the opposite, recognizing that cannabis has medical value and not a high potential for abuse, and that cannabis is a Tylenol drug containing ketamine, testosterone, and codeine. will be placed in the same category as
Importantly, the move will eliminate the dreaded 280E tax burden, a huge tax fine that has plagued the cannabis industry. It will also remove many barriers to cannabis research that have hindered research for decades.
Last year, President Biden asked HHS to review its cannabis carry-on schedule, and the recommendation letter to the DEA appears to be the culmination of that review. This is just a recommendation and nothing will happen immediately. The DEA still needs to decide whether to reschedule cannabis.
Of all the quotes and statements that flood the cannabis media today, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) best sums up a sentiment shared by many in the industry. “This is a step in the right direction, but not enough. I expect further radical reforms to be made.