The federal government is now about to decide whether marijuana should be rescheduled or not. This is an important step in the fight for legalization.
At the moment, marijuana is a schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs are considered drugs that are especially harmful to the public. Drugs such as heroin and LSD are considered schedule I.
Schedule I drugs are not allowed to be researched; thus, little scientific information is available for Class I drugs. While some of the Class I drugs need to be controlled as such, marijuana does not need to be.
The act of rescheduling marijuana involves moving it to a lower schedule- either Schedule II or Schedule III. Schedule II narcotics are still considered dangerous. These drugs have the potential to be addictive and abused.
For example, cocaine is a class II drug. Schedule III drugs are often composed of prescription drugs. These drugs still have some level of abuse, but they are not highly regulated.
The act of rescheduling marijuana is not a given, however. The DEA has considered rescheduling marijuana before, but the federal government prevented the change from happening. Since the last rescheduling hearings, however, marijuana has become legalized in four states and the District of Columbia. Maybe the federal government will acquiesce to the will of the people.
It should come as no surprise that the federal government has been slower to change its stance on weed than state and local government. Hillary Clinton has communicated that the states should experiment with legal marijuana, allowing the states be the laboratory of democracy.
Some marijuana advocates are still feeling uneasy about marijuana reform. These advocates, while ecstatic about the state laws, are wary of the DEA’s agenda, especially with the upcoming election on the horizon. While Obama has taken a hands-off approach to state marijuana laws, the next president may not be as permissive.
Some of the candidates, such as Ted Cruz, have strong anti-marijuana stances. The next president will play a huge role in the direction of legalization. In the meantime, however, more states have ballot initiatives regarding marijuana legalization.
As more states continue to legalize marijuana, the federal government will likely be more receptive towards rescheduling marijuana.