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DEA Proposes to Reschedule Cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III!

DEA Proposes to the White House to Reschedule Cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III!

When I started my career in 2010 interning for National NORML in Washington D.C., I did not know at that time if I would see cannabis legalization in my lifetime. Just two years later in 2012, the world saw Colorado and Washington legalize adult-use cannabis, in contravention of U.S. federal law. State-by-state laws continue to change for both marijuana and hemp.

The fear and misinformation spread over the last century around Cannabis are slowly being transformed into opportunity, as stakeholders and thought leaders fight their way to achieve policy reform to reestablish freedom for this magical plant.  Today, we see historic progress on the federal level with the DEA's proposal. While not de-scheduling or legalization, which is needed to protect businesses and consumers alike, rescheduling is a positive step forward.     

“[W]hile a move to Schedule III would be a meaningful improvement, the only way to remedy the most concerning consequences of marijuana prohibition is to deschedule marijuana altogether.” ~Senator Elizabeth Warren, (April 24, 2024)

Lawmakers and interested parties have pressured the DEA to make this decision or go further with a full descheduling action. This momentous news comes just one week after 21 Senators and Members of Congress wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram urging DOJ and DEA to act and “promptly remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)” and 8 months after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation that “marijuana, referring to botanical cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) that is within the definition “marihuana” or” marijuana” in the CSA, be controlled in Schedule III of the CSA.”

Once the White House Office of Budget Management signs off, DEA is expected to go into formal rulemaking with a public comment period and additional review by an administrative judge before publishing the final rule.

At EARTH Law LLC, we are taking this moment to reflect on the positive progress the Medical Cannabis, Adult-Use Cannabis, and Hemp industries have achieved in the last decade. We are grateful for our allies, colleagues, and clients who have collectively ushered in this new era for cannabis! ~Courtney N. Moran, LL.M., Founding Principal

While stakeholders and attorneys are split on the impacts, opportunities, and potential unintended consequences this scheduling action may result in, this is a signal for businesses to get ready for the changes ahead! Stay informed as this historical change unfolds.

What will the final rule entail?

What impacts will this have on cannabis businesses?

Could this open up some form of interstate commerce for cannabis?

What impacts will this have on the intoxicating hemp products market?

When rules become public and the public comment period opens, it's critical interested parties have their voices heard on the proposed reforms. Make sure you are ready and have adequate representation throughout the process.

Learn more from our sister lobbying firm, Agricultural Hemp Solutions.

Connect with them at 202-656-7023;

To help your business plan for and understand these changes in federal policy, schedule a consultation with us at 541-632-3946 or

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