Assistant Sec. for Health and Human Services (HHS) Rachel Levine on Tuesday asked the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to reclassify marijuana as a lower-risk drug, calling for it to be shifted from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug.
Marijuana is currently classified in the same category as LSD and heroin, meaning it is deemed as having high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Under Schedule III, it would join the likes of ketamine and testosterone, which are classified as having moderate-to-low potential for dependence and abuse.
Cannabis is not a harmless drug and it can lead to many of the serious health conditions that result from tobacco use. While criminalization may not be the answer, the marijuana industry cannot be allowed to sway the conversation without admitting the adverse health effects of a drug it's so successfully normalized. Smoking cannabis can severely damage the heart and lungs, and that information should be made widely available to the public.
There are potential health issues associated with marijuana, which is why the federal government should be more involved in regulating it rather than criminalizing it. Since certain states have legalized it without the federal govt. following suit, the FDA hasn't been able to offer guidance on potency levels or side effects, which can be particularly dangerous for underage users. The govt. must take us out of this regulatory limbo and start working to boost the economic potential of marijuana while mitigating its health risks.
There's a 15% chance that cannabis will be removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.