DOJ Takes Major Step to Reclassify Marijuana After Decades of Zero Tolerance 

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By Steve Neavling

Signaling a seismic shift in marijuana enforcement, the Justice Department on Thursday officially moved to reclassify cannabis as a less dangerous drug. 

Under the proposed new rule, the Biden administration would change the classification of marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug, a less restrictive policy in line with ketamine and anabolic steroids, NBC reports. Under a Schedule III classification, marijuana would be determined to have medical benefits, enabling scientists to conduct more research on a drug that has sent millions of people to jail. 

In a video posted to X, Biden called the announcement “major.”

 “This is monumental,” Biden said. “It’s an important move towards reversing long-standing inequities. … Far too many lives have been upended because of a failed approach to marijuana, and I’m committed to righting those wrongs. You have my word on it.”

After the new rule is posted in the federal registry, it will be followed by a 60-day public comment period. 

The change, however, does not mean recreational marijuana will be legal nationally. 

The reclassification comes at a time when 38 states have legalized medical marijuana, and 24 have approved recreational marijuana. 

In October 2022, President Biden called for a review of federal marijuana law and began pardoning thousands of Americans convicted on the federal level of simple possession. 

“Look folks, no one should be in jail for merely using or possessing marijuana. Period,” Biden said in Thursday’s video.

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