BREAKING: DEA Recommends Federal Cannabis Rescheduling


In a long-awaited move, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has concurred with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in their recommendation that cannabis should be federally rescheduled from high risk Schedule I to lower risk Schedule III under The Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This significant shift, initially recommended by the Biden administration in 2022 and further navigated through the Department of Health and Human Services in 2023, marks a pivotal moment in the journey to Federal cannabis legalization in the United States.

For over 50 years, cannabis has been unjustly grouped with substances like heroin and methamphetamine under Schedule I, where it has been considered to have no medical use, despite ever growing evidence of its plethora of medicinal benefits. This reclassification not only acknowledges that cannabis has accepted medical value, it places it alongside drugs such as ketamine and Tylenol with codeine in Schedule III, both of which can be legally obtained with a doctor’s prescription from licensed pharmacies.


While the DEA’s decision marks a monumental moment in history, the path towards rescheduling does not end here. The DEA will now advance the proposal to the White House’s Office of Budget Management (OBM) for review, a process that could take up to three months. From there, the proposal is sent back to the Justice Department to be published in the Federal Register. And finally, a public comment period and hearings are held, with an administrative law judge assessing the rule’s viability as law. While the timeline remains speculative, there are discussions about the potential impact of this decision on the 2024 Presidential Election.

If this rule becomes law, it could bring huge advantages to cannabis business owners; alleviating them from the heavy burden of exorbitant tax rates and allowing them to keep more of their earnings, rather than handing over large sums to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


It’s crucial to note what rescheduling cannabis does not entail.

  • It does not alter state-regulated cannabis markets
  • It does not reform the criminal legal system’s treatment of cannabis users
  • It does not guarantee the release of individuals incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses

This step forward signals a shift in cannabis policy reform, reflecting majority of the U.S. population’s evolving attitudes towards cannabis and its medicinal properties. As the journey towards rescheduling progresses, stakeholders across the cannabis industry eagerly await the outcome, cognizant of the transformative impact it could have on both the industry and society at large.


Canna Business Services is a full-service cannabis consulting firm specializing in license application preparation, compliance, buildout, and more. Contact Canna Business Services for a free 15-minute meeting to discuss how you can get into or expand your footprint in the cannabis space!