The reclassification of cannabis by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has moved a step closer according to a report by The Associated Press (AP).

Justice Department director of public affairs Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement: “Today, the Attorney General [Merrick Garland] circulated a proposal to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. Once published by the Federal Register, it will initiate a formal rulemaking process as prescribed by Congress in the Controlled Substances Act.”

While not legalising adult use outright at the federal level, the change would recognise the medical use of cannabis and acknowledge it has less potential for abuse than other dangerous drugs.

Citing five anonymous sources, AP said the proposal, which must still be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget, “clears the last significant regulatory hurdle before the agency’s biggest policy change in more than 50 years can take effect”.

Once signed off, the DEA will accept public comment on the plan to reclassify cannabis from a Schedule I drug (alongside heroin and LSD) to Schedule III (alongside ketamine and some anabolic steroids), following a previous recommendation from the federal Health and Human Services Department

After the public comment period and review by a judge, the agency would publish the final rule, AP said.

US President Joe Biden called for a review of federal cannabis law in 2022.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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