DEA Proposes Transferring Marijuana to Schedule III

photo of medical gloved hand holding marijuana plant topThe U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently announced it is proposing a rule to transfer marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  [See 21 U.S.C. § 812 Schedules of controlled substances and Pub. L. No. 91-513, 84 Stat 1236, 5/1/1971.]  On October 6, 2022, within his Statement on Marijuana Reform, President Biden asked the Attorney General (AG) and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review how marijuana was scheduled under Federal law (ie, in Schedule I of the CSA).  On August 29, 2023, based on an evaluation conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, HHS recommended to the DEA that marijuana be placed in Schedule III of the CSA.  The AG then consulted DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, which issued a Memorandum Opinion concluding that “DEA may satisfy the United States’ Single Convention obligations by placing marijuana in Schedule III while imposing additional restrictions pursuant to the CSA’s regulatory authorities.”  Comments on the proposed rule are due 7/22/2024.  For additional information, see 88 Fed. Reg. 44,597 (May 21, 2024).