Medical cannabis to federal approval, recreational remains criminal

After a century of racist demonization of cannabis, the federal government appears to be willing to budge on its zero-tolerance policy. As reported in The Washington Post, Attorney General Merrick Garland will recommend downgrading marijuana from a spot on the DEA's (AKA, "Cops Practicing Medicine") Schedule I list of controlled substances (heroin, LSD, peyote, MDMA) to a Schedule III drug, alongside ketamine and steroids.

This rescheduling opens doors for expanded research into marijuana's therapeutic benefits and could ease access for millions of medical users.

From NBC News:

For the $34 billion cannabis industry, the move would also eliminate significant tax burdens for businesses in states where the drug is legal, notably getting rid of the Internal Revenue Services code Section 280E which currently prohibits legal cannabis companies from deducting what would otherwise be ordinary business expenses.

The Department of Justice's rescheduling decision could also help shrink the black market which has thrived despite legalization in states like New York and California and has undercut legal markets that are fiercely regulated and highly taxed.

Tough luck for recreational users, though.

From the Cato Institute's response to the coming change, titled "Beer, Wine, Whiskey, Cigars, and Cigarettes Are Not on the DEA's List of Controlled Substances. Neither Should Cannabis Be":

The bad news is that it is still federally illegal for people to use cannabis recreationally. With rescheduling, the only way people will be federally permitted to purchase and consume cannabis will be if a health care practitioner prescribes it to them.

Previously: Somebody swiped weed from Chicago airport`s `Cannabis Amnesty Box`