House vote set to commence that could remove cannabis from controlled substances list

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Next month, The House will vote to eliminate cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and eradicate some cannabis-related criminal records. Under the terms of the bill, the drug’s legal status would be left in the hands of the states. However, news of the House gearing up to vote on removing cannabis from the controlled substances list indicates major progress.

For far too long, cannabis consumers have been penalized for using a plant that may not be so bad after all. “Historic” is a good word to describe the move, which would grant states the freedom to make their own rules regarding cannabis consumption and possession.

The bill was initially put forward by House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) in fall of 2019, before it flew past the panel with a 24-10 vote in November. Although it managed to gain approval in the committee with the support of GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) and Tom McClintock (Calif.), there’s a chance it will stumble in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Vote to banish cannabis from Controlled Substances Act (CSA) will commence in September

Enforced by the DEA, which was created in 1973, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) regulates the use of controlled substances. A vote on its ongoing restraints over the cannabis plant will commence during the September work period, based on the words of an email addressed to voting members by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.)

Currently, the cannabis plant has been legalized for both medical and recreational use in 11 U.S. states. A chamber of Congress would need to remove the plant from the CSA —the statute that sets the foundations for federal U.S. drug policy under which a particular substance’s manufacturing, importation, possession, consumption and distribution is regulated.

What would happen if cannabis is removed from the CSA?

The fact that cannabis is deemed to be a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act means that there are no medical benefits associated with its consumption and it has a high chance for abuse. However, studies have shown that cannabis harbors medical potential as an agent for a broad scope of diseases and conditions. Most recently, scientists claim that it may provide therapeutic relief from the cytokine storm caused by COVID-19.

If it is removed from the Act, federal lawmakers wouldn’t be able to impose restrictions on the drug. On the other hand, cannabis could still be deemed illegal in states that make up their own minds about the plant. Aside from this, criminal records could be expunged if cannabis is removed from the CSA, which would also allow people hardest hit by the war on drugs to receive grant funding.