US Will List Cannabis as Soft Drug

Stephen Andrews
03 May 2024

The news that everyone has been waiting for months is here. The US DEA will move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act. Cannabis will still be a controlled substance, but with much less restrictions on its use. Most importantly, it will be erased from the list of most dangerous drugs where it has unfairly stayed for the last half a century.

Rescheduling cannabis under the CSA will represent a major shift in the history of American drug policing. The decision of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to classify cannabis as a softer drug is nonetheless historic, although it does not mean full legalization. 

It would mean that cannabis will be finally recognized by the authorities for its medicinal properties and uses, and it will be acknowledged as a substance with far less potential for abuse than some of the most dangerous drugs out there like heroin and LSD. 

The agency’s move was confirmed by insiders on Tuesday, April 30. But not much else had been said. The White House Office of Management and Budget will still need to review DEA’s proposal. Only then, the DEA can make public comments on the matter. 

Under Schedule III, cannabis will stand on the list together with substances such as ketamine and anabolic steroids. DEA’s decision follows a recommendation from the federal Health and Human Services Department last year. 

Federal rescheduling will have a tremendous implication on Cannabis in the U.S., where the plant already represents a multi-million industry. More than half of all states have in fact already legalized marijuana for adult-use and therapeutic use. 

Downgrading marijuana to Schedule III could be interpreted as a small victory for President Biden ahead of the November elections. While it might not mean outright legalization, it’s on the right path toward legalization.

Polls suggest that a record number of Americans favor legalization, and this seems to be a particularly important issue among young people. A Gallup poll at the end of last year found that 70% of adults support legal cannabis, which represents the highest figure so far recorded by any survey. 

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Stephen Andrews