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Federal Health Agency Makes MJ Scheduling Recommendation

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has apparently weighed in on where marijuana should appear on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances – a major issue for the cannabis industry.

But it’s not yet clear exactly what stance the agency took.

The move comes in response to two petitions filed with the federal government, according to a Sept. 30 letter from the Department of Justice to U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, one of the cannabis industry’s few allies in Congress.

The letter, however, didn’t specify what that recommendation was.

Observers such as the San Francisco Weekly concluded that the health department has suggested the DEA change cannabis’ status from Schedule I to a lower category, for one obvious reason: “There’s nowhere to go but down.”

The DOJ formally stated in September that it was “reviewing” the health department’s documents and would make a decision once it was finished, at which point it will publish all related documents in the Federal Register.

If the DEA does reschedule cannabis, it could prove a big deal for the industry in more ways than one, but mostly if it’s listed as Schedule III or below, which would remove the application of 280E for marijuana business taxes.