Updated on February 3rd, 2021 at 10:49 pm

Drugs and other controlled substances are divided into five different schedules depending on accepted medical use, potential of leading to abuse, and likelihood of causing addiction.  Anticipation is escalating as many are waiting for the decision on whether or not the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule II Drug.  Many disagree with the Schedule I classification and believe the drug should be “de-scheduled” instead, putting marijuana in the same category as tobacco and alcohol.  This would allow the filling of prescriptions for the drug and the ability to conduct more medical research on the drug, particularly in the study of a form of cannabis oil that has been shown to reduce seizures.

Why Marijuana Should be a Schedule I Drug

A Schedule I drug is characterized by a high potential for abuse, no medical purpose, lack of accepted safety.  Other Schedule I drugs include but are not limited to Heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy, and cannot be purchased legally.  Those who agree with the current classification refer to the existence of sound evidence showing smoked marijuana is harmful.  Drug Enforcement Administration continues to support that marijuana meets all the three criteria for placement in Schedule I, and in order to prove otherwise, it would take years of clinical drug testing and hundreds of millions in dollars in research.

Why Marijuana Should be a Schedule II Drug

A Schedule II drug would indicate a drug which is not as harmful, yet still, has a “high potential” for abuse, has some potential for medicinal purposes, though that does not mean it is no longer a factor in OWIs  and would only be prescribed with very high restrictions.  Other Schedule II drugs include but are not limited to methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl.  With accepted medical use in several states and determination by the DEA’s own Administrative Law Judge that marijuana is safe for use under medical supervision; those who support Marijuana’s move to a Schedule II drug believe it does not fit the criteria for inclusion of a Schedule I drug.  Additionally, it is not likely the FDA would approve marijuana to be smoked, but rather in the form of tablets or liquids for the treatment of a wide variety of debilitating conditions, from chronic pain and seizures to aiding in cancer treatment.   Lastly, advocates argue that removing cannabis from Schedule I could save billions of dollars by cutting back on government spending on enforcement in the criminal justice system.

When the Decision Will Be Made

In April the Drug Enforcement Administration announced a decision by June 30th, however has yet to decide.  A decision should be announced in the near future.