Group backing Florida’s legal pot ballot measure applauds DEA move to reclassify cannabis
Florida gets up to speed in awarding licenses to cannabis growers.

'This move will help destigmatize cannabis use and help usher in a future in which cannabis products can be safely and properly regulated with further federal reform.'

The group behind the effort to completely legalize cannabis in Florida welcomed the news Tuesday that the federal government would soon move to reclassify pot as a less dangerous substance.

The Associated Press reported the Drug Enforcement Administration is close to moving cannabis out of the Schedule I classification, which indicates the most dangerous and addictive drugs, such as heroine and cocaine, and into Schedule III, the same class as ketamine and anabolic steroids.

Smart & Safe Florida, which received more than $40 million from Trulieve, a medical marijuana company, to put Amendment 3 on the November ballot to legalize pot for recreational use, said the move was a step in the right direction.

“We are pleased that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is following the recommendation of the Department of Health and Human Services in moving forward with a long-awaited policy change to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III,” the group said in a released statement. “This movement towards reclassification is not only long overdue, but it aligns with what dozens of states have already realized, grounding our nation’s policies in well-established science. This move will help destigmatize cannabis use and help usher in a future in which cannabis products can be safely and properly regulated with further federal reform.”

President Joe Biden had ordered a review of cannabis’ classification in 2022 and has pardoned or commuted the sentences of some federal prisoners who were caught with the drug.

But as the AP report noted, the move might not matter much in the near term for enforcement of drug laws, since federal enforcement of the ban on cannabis is lax and many states have moved to legalize the plant for medical or even recreational adult use. Going to Schedule III, though, could raise other issues surrounding the regulation of cannabis.

The move is unlikely to have an affect on the push to pass Amendment 3, which states that it doesn’t alter federal law regarding the drug.

Gray Rohrer

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