Senators reintroduce bill to federally legalize marijuana as DEA moves to reschedule cannabis

The rescheduling recognizes the medical uses of cannabis and could broadly impact research, industry
May 1, 2024

Today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), which would federally legalize marijuana. This legislation would establish broad regulation of the cannabis industry across multiple federal agencies – including regulation of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – and also expunge the records of those with low-level marijuana-related convictions. Reintroduction of this bill, which is nearly identical to the version first introduced by the senators in 2022, comes on the tails of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA's) broadly reported and historic decision to initiate the regulatory process to reschedule marijuana.
Based on a recommendation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the DEA is moving to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule III controlled substance. The rescheduling of marijuana recognizes the medical uses of cannabis and its lower abuse potential than Schedule I and II substances. Its rescheduling could have broad impacts for the cannabis industry, though it would not result in legalization of adult-use cannabis under federal law.
Once published in the Federal Register, the proposal to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III will initiate a formal rulemaking process that will include a public comment period. The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) plans to submit comments in support of the rescheduling and continue engaging with policymakers on matters impacting cannabis as part of the association's work to address issues related to the responsible commerce of legally-marketed products derived from Cannabis species.
“AHPA is encouraged by the DEA's historic move to reschedule marijuana, which acknowledges the medical use of cannabis,” said Jane Wilson, AHPA Director of Program Development and staff liaison to AHPA's Cannabis Committee. “The reclassification of this long-criminalized botanical is long overdue.




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