The U.S. government finally released hundreds of pages of documents Friday related to its ongoing review of the status of cannabis under federal law, confirming for the first time that the Department of Health and Human Services has recommended the DEA reschedule cannabis as Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act.
The 252 pages of documents explain that cannabis “has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” and that it has a “potential for abuse less than the drugs or other substances in Schedules I and II,” as first reported by Marijuana Moment.
Federal health officials acknowledged that they conducted an analysis and found that more than 30,000 health care professionals “across 43 U.S. jurisdictions are authorized to recommend the medical use of marijuana for more than six million registered patients for at least 15 medical conditions.”
Barely a day after a government lawyer said the documents would be released in their entirety, officials made them available to Matt Zorn, the attorney who sued the government over a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain them. In October, Zorn filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. against the HHS demanding that it produce a copy of the letter issuing the cannabis scheduling review directive.
Zorn posted an image to his On Drugs blog on Friday of a letter to DEA Director Anne Milgram in which the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health writes that “Marijuana meets the findings for control in Schedule III set forth in 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(3).”
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What Rescheduling Would Mean For Cannabis
Cannabis is categorized as a Schedule 1 Substance, meaning it has no accepted medical value. Other substances that fall under this category include heroin, LSD and ecstasy. If cannabis is rescheduled, Section 280(e) of the tax code would no longer apply to cannabis businesses, allowing operators to deduct ordinary business expenses from their gross income.
Cannabis research would also open further. The consequences of this change would likely be one of the most significant outcomes of cannabis rescheduling.