U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra shared during a press conference on June 15 that relevant federal agencies are working to complete their administrative review of cannabis scheduling this year, according to Marijuana Moment.

Last October, President Biden took the historic step of directing his administration to “expeditiously” review the status of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. Until now, the timeline for this review had been unclear. The next step after HHS completes its review and makes a scheduling recommendation is for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to chime in. Becerra told reporters that HHS is working with other agencies, like DEA, to “give the president an answer that’s based on the science and the evidence. Stay tuned. We hope to be able to get there pretty soon—hopefully this year.”

The outcome of this review could have wide-ranging impacts on the cannabis industry.  Rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III, IV, or V would mark historic progress toward ending federal prohibition and present a many over the status quo. Descheduling, while unlikely to happen through this process, would demonstrate cannabis’ low potential for abuse and mark a dramatic step toward achieving President Biden’s criminal justice and racial equity goals.

Perkins Coie LLP is working with the Coalition for Cannabis Scheduling Reform, a diverse group comprising cannabis companies, scientists, and legal authorities that aims to provide critical information and analysis concerning the urgent need for cannabis scheduling reform.