US set to reclassify cannabis in major shift

US set to reclassify cannabis in major shift

WASHINGTON: The United States is set to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, a source familiar with the issue said Tuesday, in a major step towards destigmatizing the substance and its users.

The US Department of Justice will send a recommendation to the White House on Tuesday to “reschedule marijuana”, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Under US federal law cannabis is still illegal, even if in practice the law is not enforced and many US states have legalized its use.

Marijuana is currently classed under US federal law as a so-called schedule 1 drug along with heroin, ecstasy and LSD, meaning it is deemed to have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

But it would be downgraded to a schedule 3 drug under the proposal, along with drugs like ketamine and painkillers containing codeine, with a moderate to low likelihood of dependence, the source said.

“This is the next step in the formal rescheduling process,“ the source said.

Cannabis is already a multibillion dollar business in the United States, with more than half of all states having legalized recreational and medicinal cannabis use, including California and New York.

President Joe Biden has pardoned thousands of Americans convicted of cannabis possession.

The issue is also a potential vote winner for Biden, with polls showing a growing number of Americans favor legalization, especially among younger people where the Democrat is struggling to whip up voter enthusiasm.


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