On October 6, 2022, President Joe Biden announced a retroactive pardon for simple possession of marijuana. He also announced that the federal government will review marijuana’s federal scheduling. His announcement suggests that the federal government may reschedule cannabis or even deschedule cannabis. Rescheduling cannabis is a bad idea, as I explain below. If the government wants to help, the best thing it can do is to deschedule cannabis.
In his announcement, President Biden said, “Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances. This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic.” This is exactly true. The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) places drugs into one of five schedules. Schedule I is the most illegal and is reserved for drugs that are supposed to be dangerous like heroin.
Cannabis and psychedelics were placed on schedule I for pretty absurd reasons. Drugs that are on schedule I are basically off limits and treated as supremely dangerous. Physicians cannot prescribe them. Getting federal approval to research them is nearly impossible