The FDA Is Considering Placing Marijuana in A Category That Indicates It Might Be Safer

Dr. Brett Berner
4 min readJan 21, 2024
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According to documents from the US Food and Drug Administration, marijuana is less likely to be misused compared to other drugs facing similar restrictions. Researchers believe there’s scientific evidence backing its use as a medical treatment. They suggest reclassifying it as a Schedule III substance.

The FDA gave its advice in a long report with 252 pages. They sent this report to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in August 2023.

In August, Bloomberg News shared a report, possibly leaked, about the FDA’s recommendation on marijuana scheduling. Attorney Matthew Zorn, who wasn’t representing anyone, wanted the FDA to disclose this info. The FDA responded just before the court deadline. Zorn said it was absurd to debate public policy without seeing the recommendation.

Despite the report sparking discussion, no one else had the full, unedited FDA recommendation. Now that it’s public, the DEA might feel more pressure to act. However, they’re not obligated to do anything, and there’s no specific timeline. Lawyers anticipate a proposal to move cannabis from Schedule I to III soon due to the President’s directive in October 2022.

President Biden asked Health and Human Services and the US Attorney General to quickly review marijuana’s federal scheduling. Lawyers believe a rule proposal could come soon, given Biden’s push and supportive evidence. Howard Sklamberg from Arnold & Porter expects a proposed rule shortly, with a final rule around mid-summer. He thinks agencies prefer finishing significant rules before the political season heats up.

Legitimate Medical Use

According to the FDA, marijuana is considered to be a low-risk threat to public health, and it is less likely to be misused compared to drugs like heroin or cocaine, which fall under Schedule I or II.

While some people use marijuana in ways that could be harmful to their health and safety, the majority of users do so without causing danger to themselves or others, as per the FDA’s findings.

The FDA evaluated various factors, including emergency room visits, hospitalizations, unintentional exposures, and overdose deaths, and…



Dr. Brett Berner

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