Tuesday, the Department of Justice affirmed that the DEA has concurred with an HHS recommendation to move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.

While the DEA’s opinion to reschedule cannabis fails to go far enough, it represents the first time the agency has ever abandoned its ‘Flat Earth‘ position toward cannabis and acknowledged that the substance possesses legitimate therapeutic utility. Still, it continues to perpetuate the growing divide between federal marijuana laws and the marijuana legalization laws of a growing number of states. It also fails to align with public opinion, as most Americans agree that cannabis should be treated more like alcohol than like ketamine.

Federal Cannabis Action Fund

Nonetheless, this decision marks both a symbolic and a very tangible victory. Once enacted, this move will provide immediate benefits to both the state-legal industry and cannabis consumers – such as providing lower prices for retail products and providing greater flexibility to who can legally consume cannabis and where. Ideally, it will also encourage lawmakers at the state and federal level to take further steps to amend and repeal cannabis criminalization.

NORML has appeared in dozens of mainstream media outlets – including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, Fox News, USA Today, C-SPAN, Forbes, Agence France-Presse, and others – regarding the implications of this change. We can tell you firsthand that pundits, influencers, and lawmakers consider this move a seismic and long-overdue shift in federal cannabis policy.

Perhaps most tellingly, our political opponents are also touting its significance, pledging to take whatever steps necessary to derail this proposed policy change. In fact, within minutes of the DEA’s announcement, a major prohibitionist group issued a press release announcing their intent to “oppose the Attorney General’s decision in the rulemaking process and to challenge any final rescheduling decision in court.”

Prohibitionists are taking this stance because they know that this change may very well mark the beginning of the fall of federal cannabis prohibition. 

In the coming months, we anticipate high-profile battles over the fate of federal rescheduling. Some of these battles may take place in court, and others may take place in the halls of Congress. And even more battles will be waged in the court of public opinion – in newspapers, cable news, and online. You can help ensure we win this battle by chipping in right now.

NORML launched the first-ever petition to remove cannabis from Schedule I over 50 years ago. And we are still putting in the work. We are the only cannabis advocacy organization looking out for you – the responsible consumer. And we are the only organization willing to stand toe-to-toe with our political opponents and speak truth to power. Our efforts are changing minds, changing laws, and changing policies. Help ensure our voice is heard.

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