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25 June, 2024
 
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US considers downgrading marijuana

From 'dangerous' to 'less risky': The big change in America's drug policy

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In a historic shift in American drug policy, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is poised to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, moving it from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3, alongside substances like ketamine and certain anabolic steroids, according to five anonymous sources who spoke to the Associated Press Tuesday. This move acknowledges that marijuana is less likely to be abused than drugs such as heroin and MDMA. However, it stops short of legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

The proposal will now undergo review by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before it can be enacted. Marijuana's current Schedule 1 classification puts it in the category of drugs with the highest potential for abuse and severe psychological or physical dependence, alongside heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and MDMA.

The DEA's plan, once approved, will open a public comment period on the reclassification of marijuana, marking a significant departure from decades of stringent drug policy. This shift follows President Joe Biden's call for a review of federal marijuana law in October 2022 and his subsequent efforts to pardon thousands of Americans convicted federally of simple marijuana possession.

While some critics argue against rescheduling marijuana, citing potential harmful side effects, others advocate for removing it from the controlled substances list entirely and regulating it similarly to alcohol. Despite federal policy changes, many states have already moved ahead with their own legalization measures, with 38 states permitting medical marijuana and 24 allowing recreational use.

[Information from Associated Press]

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