Press Release

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Recommends Rescheduling Cannabis

Apr 30, 2024

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Contact: Violet Cavendish

Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reportedly proposed rescheduling of cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act. Before taking effect, the DEA’s proposal must undergo review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“This is a positive step forward for federal cannabis policy, however it is a rather modest step given the strong support among American voters for comprehensive cannabis reform,” said Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. “It is important to acknowledge that this rescheduling would not affect the criminalization of medical cannabis patients and cannabis consumers under state laws – so we must continue the work of enacting sensible and fair cannabis legalization and medical cannabis laws through state legislatures and ballot initiatives.”

In August 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) formally recommended rescheduling cannabis. In a letter sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), HHS provided findings from their review of marijuana’s scheduling status and recommended rescheduling marijuana to a Schedule III controlled substance. 

“I’m underwhelmed by the progress made during President Biden’s administration, I think it was fair to expect more,” added Schweich. “It was absurd to consider cannabis to be more dangerous than heroin, as is the case today. It will remain absurd to consider cannabis to be more dangerous than alcohol, Xanax, and Valium, which will still be the case after this rescheduling takes effect.” 

However, MPP recognizes that rescheduling cannabis would still provide many real-world benefits, including facilitating research and reducing burdens on medical cannabis patients, providers, and the businesses that serve them. However, moving cannabis to Schedule III will still leave many of the harms of federal prohibition in place. Rescheduling cannabis will not resolve the conflicts between federal and state laws, and ultimately action is needed from Congress to enact federal legalization and criminal justice policies.


Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 14 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.

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