January 12, 2024





Washington, D.C. – Following the release of documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier today relating to the agency’s review of the federal classification of cannabis, the National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) is applauding the historic acknowledgement by a federal agency that cannabis should be reclassified from a Schedule I to Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The FDA’s Eight Factor Analysis found cannabis “has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” and “is not an immediate precursor of another controlled substance.”


Since the October 6, 2022, directive by President Biden for federal agencies to expeditiously review the appropriateness of cannabis being classified in the most restrictive CSA schedule, NCR has been instrumental in advocating for and informing the heads of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as to the scientific facts and medical value of cannabis meriting its reclassification to at least Schedule III – understanding the limitations of the authority of HHS and DOJ when it comes to the CSA and urging the DEA to follow the scientific findings of HHS and the FDA in this process. (Click here to view the NCR memo to HHS Secretary Becerra and here for the NCR letter to DEA Administrator Milgram).


Saphira Galoob, Executive Director of the National Cannabis Roundtable, made the following statement on the release of the HHS documents pertaining to the agency’s cannabis rescheduling recommendation:


“The importance of a federal agency publicly acknowledging that cannabis is inappropriately classified as a Schedule I substance and has accepted medical use cannot be overstated. The documentation released today also highlights the abundance of research and scientific evidence that HHS and the FDA utilized to make this historic recommendation.


“We thank President Biden for initiating this long-overdue federal review and we thank HHS and the FDA for carrying out their work in such a thorough and timely manner, understanding the seriousness of the task before them after decades of federal prohibition has caused irreparable harm to individuals and communities persecuted as part of the War on Drugs, patient access, and consumer safety. We hope to see the DEA and DOJ swiftly initiate formal rulemaking in line with the HHS Schedule III recommendation to begin to shift cannabis policy on the federal level as 38 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories have already done.


“We all agree that more federal action is needed outside of the scope of the CSA review in order to right the wrongs of the misguided War on Drugs that we hope to see the Department of Justice also swiftly take action on. Within the purview of the CSA, moving cannabis to Schedule III will allow for additional critical medical research to be conducted and will allow for state legal cannabis businesses to be treated in a more equitable manner under federal tax law. Without the extreme tax burdens caused by 280E, the regulated cannabis industry will be better equipped to combat the threat to public safety and health posed by the illicit market and a better ability to reinvest in their workforces and the communities they serve.


“We look forward to working with the Biden Administration and Congress to move forward meaningful federal cannabis reform that protects consumers, advances social equity, addresses past injustices, creates economic growth, and supports existing regulated state markets.”


The National Cannabis Roundtable is an alliance of cannabis companies, as well as ancillary services and solutions providers, who seek cannabis reform that nurtures the nascent domestic industry, protects consumers, and advances social equity.