Marijuana Reclassification Seen as First Step to Full Legalization

Some lawmakers say federal marijuana reclassification to Schedule III is just an initial step toward full legalization. They plan to keep advocating for further reforms.

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Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren might be more excited than others.

Lawmakers in Congress could be glad to hear that the most important health authority in the United States is suggesting that marijuana be placed in a different category. Senators Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren could be particularly enthusiastic. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) have touted the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) directive to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) asking the DEA to shift marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as just one step toward full legalization. The proposal has been supported by various members of Congress, including some Republicans. Some people have said that they were responsible for the change in marijuana policy and that it was the result of their advocacy efforts. However, although there is agreement that cannabis should not be categorized as a Schedule 1 drug such as heroin, federal law still tends to prohibit it as a Schedule III drug. It would do away with any studied obstacles and grant permission for state permitted marijuana-associated organizations to file deductions on their income taxes, and other political consequences as well. Advocates and important legislators are not looking at rescheduling as the final outcome. On Friday, Warren commented, “I’ve been proposing governmental action to fix the damage done from unfair laws concerning drugs and create a more equal cannabis industry.” It is essential that we take further action to put a stop to the damaging practice of the federal government criminally prosecuting cannabis users. This action by [HHS] is a key progression in the right direction. I have encouraged the federal government to start taking measures to repair the damage caused by biased drug laws and construct a fairer cannabis market. The action taken by The Department of Health and Human Services is a significant development, and there is still more work to do to put a stop to the damaging criminalization of cannabis by the US Government.

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