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DEA & DOJ Officially Submit Proposal for Cannabis Rescheduling, Setting Comment Period in Motion

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published its formal proposal for cannabis rescheduling, officially putting what is set to be the most meaningful overhaul of cannabis regulation in 50-years into motion.

Tuesday’s (May 21, 2024) publication of the proposal means that the 60-day comment period is now open, giving commenters until July 22 to submit their comments electronically. Interested parties may also file a request for a hearing on or before June 20.

In its proposal, the DEA says that the Attorney General has determined that cannabis does not appear to meet the elements of a Schedule II drug, including high potential for abuse and the likelihood of severe physiological or physical dependence.

It also notes that synthetically produced cannabis would not be included in the reclassification, which is outside of the Controlled Substances Act’s (CSA) definition, and will therefore remain a Schedule I substance.

Comments are now being sought from ‘all interested persons’, and are expected to include  the general public, stakeholders in the medical and scientific community, legal and regulatory experts, industry representatives, advocacy groups, and government agencies.

Specifically, the proposal calls for comments relating to the economic analysis of the proposed changes and encourages commenters to provide detailed descriptions, especially concerning the impact on small entities, and to support their comments with empirical data.

In this vein, the DOJ says it ‘acknowledges that there may be large impacts related to Federal taxes and research and development investment for the pharmaceutical industry, among other things.’

Furthermore, it states that the Attorney General, Merick Garland, must consider compliance with international treaty obligations, including the Single Convention, which requires signatories to ‘maintain various provisions related to the drugs’ covered by the treaty.

While no prospective timeline was given for how long the comments will take to consider, or whether a final hearing will take place, sources speaking to Business of Cannabis have suggested the change could be finalised by Q1 2025.


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