At the moment, hemp is only legal in specific countries. At the federal level, it is still illegal. But when President Biden pardoned thousands of American citizens convicted of cannabis offenses in October of this year, he also asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the US Attorney General to reassess how cannabis is scheduled under federal law. Since then, there has been much talk of “rescheduling” or “unscheduling” the drug.
Reschedule and unschedule are words that have long remained in the dictionary of experienced cannabis consumers. But for those new to cannabis and the US drug law, it will probably sound like jibberish. What is the difference between rescheduling and canceling scheduling? Will descheduling make cannabis legal?
Allow us to explain.
What does it mean that cannabis is currently a Schedule I drug?
In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act went into effect. Hemp is classified as Schedule I. This means that it is a drug that has no accepted medical use and has a high risk of abuse. Other Schedule I substances include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, methaqualone (Quaaludes), peyote, and psilocybin mushrooms.
Schedule I marijuana classification is an important issue for the growth of the cannabis industry. Rescheduling cannabis up to Schedule II would allow cannabis research and development more easily.
The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has long argued that cannabis should remain on the Schedule I list. Other agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say cannabis should be descheduled or rescheduled to Schedule II or Schedule III because of its medical benefits.
And then there’s the argument that it should be removed from the Controlled Substances Act’s jurisdiction altogether. This is what people refer to when they hear the word “descheduling”.
What does weed removal mean?
In 2018, the US Farm Bill removed hemp products containing less than 0.3 percent THC from the jurisdiction of the Controlled Substances Act, thus removing most hemp and CBD products. This act essentially made CBD and hemp products legal to possess, grow, and sell throughout the United States.
If the cannabis schedule is eliminated, this is what will happen with all cannabis products. Basically, removing cannabis from cannabis would make it a legal drug.
Descheduling, Rescheduling, and Decriminalization: What’s the Difference?
We’ve gone to reschedule and remove cannabis. Descheduling cannabis refers to the process of removing cannabis from the list of controlled substances. The process can happen either through legislation or through the executive branch.
Cannabis rescheduling means that it is moved from the first schedule to the lower schedule. Rescheduling can make it possible to prescribe or buy over-the-counter cannabis, but it will still be so Controlled by the Food and Drug Administration.
But what about decriminalization?
Another buzzword you may be hearing by now, decriminalization of cannabis means that it is no longer a criminal offense to possess certain amounts of it. When cannabis is decriminalized, possession of a certain amount of cannabis is considered a civil offense with minor fines.
Many of the states where cannabis remains illegal have cities or counties that have decriminalized cannabis, such as Austin, Texas.
For cannabis activists, decriminalization would be nice, but descheduling is ideal. This would essentially create a nationwide recreational cannabis industry. Cannabis will be treated a lot like alcohol and tobacco now.
Also, canceling scheduling will make your property search a lot easier. Treating cannabis as a crop rather than a medicinal material allows researchers in fields such as horticulture and plant genetics to research the plant. Cannabis activists hope they can then create newer and better strains for the medical industry, and make the entertainment market safer.
Many people believe that the future of cannabis in the United States is heading towards full legalization. It’s just a matter of how. To date, 37 states have legalized medical marijuana, and 21 states have legalized medical marijuana. Recreational use from hashish. The legalization of cannabis may begin with rescheduling, then decriminalization, and eventually, descheduling may follow.
But the legalization of cannabis is a hotly debated topic, with many people on both sides of the issue. Some people advocate legalization because they believe it will reduce crime rates and increase tax revenues. Others argue that legalizing it will lead to increased rates of crime and addiction.
At the federal level, there have been numerous attempts to legalize or de-schedule cannabis. With the 2022 election winding down, several pieces of legislation are up in the air. President Biden’s announcement to pardon federal cannabis charges also paved the way for new federal moves toward legalization.
If you want to get involved in rescheduling, descheduling or decriminalizing cannabis, make sure you Educate yourself about these issues. Join local or state activity groups. Call or email your representatives. And at the local level, you can lobby for decriminalization in your city.