Is Federal Marijuana Legalization on the Horizon in the U.S.?

Is Federal Marijuana Legalization on the Horizon in the U.S.?

Recent statements from President Biden and legislative actions suggest a shifting landscape in the U.S. regarding marijuana policy. Despite marijuana being classified in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, alongside substances like heroin, a significant policy gap is emerging between federal law and state-level initiatives.

Statement from President Biden on Marijuana Reform highlights this evolving stance. The President’s address underscores the federal government’s recognition of changes at the state level, where 21 states, DC, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands have legalized the recreational use of marijuana as of March 1, 2023.

Meanwhile, the FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products continues to evolve, with the FDA approving the first drug comprised of an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy in June 2018. This development marks a significant shift in the federal perspective on cannabis-based products.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also acknowledges the growing body of knowledge about marijuana, indicating a broader acceptance and understanding of its uses and effects.

However, the Department of Transportation maintains a strict stance, as outlined in their “Recreational Marijuana” Notice. The Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason, highlighting the ongoing conflicts within federal agencies regarding marijuana use and regulation.

In the legislative arena, the MORE Act, pending before the Senate, plans to make history with a vote on federal marijuana legalization. This Act proposes to remove marijuana from the schedules of controlled substances, signaling a potential landmark shift in federal drug policy.

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These developments, along with ongoing legal discussions and regulatory changes noted in various Federal Register entries, point towards a complex and rapidly evolving landscape for marijuana legislation and regulation in the United States.

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