US government to classify cannabis as less dangerous drug

In the United States, cannabis is about to see its status relaxed at the federal level

US government to classify cannabis as less dangerous drug

In the United States, cannabis is about to see its status relaxed at the federal level. According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), relying on a source close to the American authorities who requested anonymity, the Ministry of Justice will recommend, on Tuesday April 30, to the White House budget office to move cannabis from category 1, that of substances considered very addictive and of no medical benefit, such as heroin, to category 3, in which certain codeine medications are found, for example.

The Minister of Justice has “disseminated a proposal to reclassify cannabis” from category 1 to category 3, a ministry spokesperson said in a press release. This is a step in the reclassification process, which is expected to take some time. The White House declined any comment on this information first revealed by the American agency Associated Press.

With nearly three-quarters of Americans living in a state where the drug is legal, this new federal classification could have significant economic repercussions. It would encourage medical research on cannabis and alleviate a certain number of regulatory and fiscal constraints.

The leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, welcomed in a press release a decision "recognizing the need for a change in restrictive and draconian cannabis laws to adapt to what science and a majority of Americans clearly say.” “Congress must do everything in our power to end federal cannabis prohibition and address the long-standing ills caused by the 'War on Drugs'” of the 1970s.

President Joe Biden announced in October 2022 a series of measures to expunge the federal convictions of people sanctioned for simple possession of cannabis, thus removing obstacles they may encounter in terms of access to employment or housing. He also called on health and judicial authorities to rethink the penalties associated with marijuana.

Senate opposition in the past

In 2020 and 2022, the then Democratic-dominated House of Representatives passed a bill to remove cannabis from the federal list of dangerous drugs, but faced opposition from the Senate.

Following the legalization of cannabis in Canada in 2018, US Border Patrol agents began imposing lifetime bans on entry into the United States on Canadians who responded positively during checks to the question of whether if they had already consumed it.

But twenty-four American states, plus the District of Columbia where the capital Washington is located, have already legalized cannabis, and fourteen others authorize purely medical use.

According to a survey released by Pew Research in March, 88 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legal, for medical use, recreational use, or both. This institute calculated in February that 74% of Americans now live in a state where the substance is legalized either for recreational or medical use.