The nation’s leading health organization is urging the easing of weed regulations.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requested the Drug Enforcement Administration to reconsider their federal marijuana drug laws. The agency hopes this will lead to reclassification, which could significantly impact those incarcerated on weed charges and how the cases are tried moving forward.
As of now, marijuana is categorized as a Schedule I drug, which lists it as being potentially dangerous, Forbes explains. The DEA places cannabis in the same class as much harder drugs such as heroin and LSD.
Now, officials with the HHS are asking DEA administrator Anne Milgrim to place cannabis in the Schedule III category, which could reduce punishments for it and even allow weed business owners to claim marijuana-related expenses on their taxes, something that has been a common hurdle among legal weed entrepreneurs. Having weed in this category would also place it among less deadly substances such as steroids and ketamine. Weed would still be illegal in many places, but the reclassification could open the door for research proving that marijuana is not as dangerous as other drugs.
President Joe Biden had previously expressed their desire to have weed reclassified. However, the initial request a year ago had not yet been approved. Both Democrats and Republicans alike have supported these types of measures to continue decriminalizing marijuana and fuel the legal weed industry.
A DEA spokesperson confirmed to NBC News that they would begin the reclassification review process.