As the Biden administration actively reviews the classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a diverse group of cannabis companies and organizations is partnering with scientific and legal authorities, including Perkins Coie LLP, to launch the Coalition for Cannabis Scheduling Reform (CCSR).
The current classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug puts it in the same category as heroin and cocaine (and more strictly controlled than even fentanyl). This is despite widely accepted medical use, a low potential for abuse, and per the DEA, no overdose deaths attributable to cannabis. As a result of its classification, cannabis continues to be harshly criminalized, Americans continue to be incarcerated for possession and use of cannabis, and state-licensed cannabis businesses operate under extreme regulatory burdens.
Last October, President Biden took the historic step of directing his administration to “expeditiously” review the status of cannabis under the CSA. Rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III, IV, or V would mark historic progress toward ending federal prohibition and present a wide range of advantages over the status quo. Descheduling would demonstrate cannabis’ low potential for abuse and represent a dramatic step toward achieving President Biden’s criminal justice and racial equity goals.
CCSR aims to engage with stakeholders to provide critical information and analysis concerning the urgent need for cannabis scheduling reform by, among other things, releasing a forthcoming comprehensive report on the classification of cannabis. Senior Counsel Andrew Kline, co-chair of the firm’s Cannabis Law industry group, is one of the white paper’s authors, with support from Associate Tommy Tobin and Paralegal Hanna Barker Mullin.