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The Biden Administration wants to reclassify marijuana, what this means for North Carolinians

Source: WRAL

Last year the Department of Health and Human services recommended a reclassification of Marijuana to the Drug Enforcement Administration at the request of President Biden. Now, the DEA is working to reclassify Marijuana as a lower risk drug. Under this proposal marijuana would move from a Schedule 1 drug to a schedule III drug. Drugs, substances, and some chemicals are classified into five categories, that the DEA calls schedules, based on its dependency and abuse potential as well as its accepted medical use. 

Right now Marijuana is grouped with ecstasy and heroin in Schedule I. The DEA states the drugs in this category “have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence.” Schedule III, however, contains substances such as Ketomine, testosterone, or tylenol with codeine and is described as a category for “drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” This reclassification says that marijuana has less potential for abuse and dependency as ecstacy, heroin, oxycodone, cocaine, and fentanyl. 

This proposal will have to go through a lengthy process, one which is expected to extend past the presidential election in November. If it is approved in the end this proposal alone still would not make marijuana legal on a federal level. But that is not to say it will not have any effect at all.
Even though this does not make it legal, it will have an impact. If passed it would allow for more research of cannabis with human trials as it’s harder to conduct such trials on drugs labeled Schedule I and Schedule II. Additionally, it would cut taxes for cannabis businesses. In a time where the drug is more widely accepted, this shift in narrative coming from a federal level may impact the opinions of state legislators who influence the legalization status in their own state.  For it to be recognized as a substance with medical benefits as well as a substance with lower abuse potential is a big step forward for Marijuana on the state and federal level.

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