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What marijuana be legal if it becomes a Schedule III drug?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Drug Charges |

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently announced its intention to change marijuana from a Schedule I drug to Schedule III. Marijuana reform advocates – including many medical professionals — have said for many years that this is the more appropriate category for it. 

Schedule I drugs, which also include ecstasy and heroin, are categorized as having no medical value. Of course, a multitude of studies and anecdotal evidence show that this isn’t the case with marijuana. Schedule III drugs include anabolic steroids, ketamine and even acetaminophen with codeine. 

People in states like Iowa, where recreational marijuana isn’t legal and even medical marijuana can contain only a small amount of THC, have interpreted this announcement to mean that marijuana will be legalized on the federal level, which would make it legal throughout the country. 

Even if marijuana is “rescheduled,” that wouldn’t automatically make it legal under federal law or in any states where it isn’t legal for recreational use. It’s possible that it could become legal with a prescription, which is different than the medical cannabis ID cards that Iowa issues now.

Will the rescheduling have any effect? 

Rescheduling marijuana could make it easier to use in clinical studies. However, it’s not anticipated that it will help cannabis businesses much. They’re constrained because of the federal prohibition. One cannabis business association official says that potential rescheduling would leave the drug “in this kind of amorphous, mucky middle where people are not going to understand the danger of it still being federally illegal.”


It remains to be seen whether proposed rescheduling occurs. As with any change at the federal level, it has to go through numerous levels of bureaucracy. It’s crucial to remember that it’s legal under very limited circumstances in Iowa and illegal under federal law. 

While prosecutions for marijuana-related offenses have declined, people can and do find themselves arrested and charged for them. If you’re facing a marijuana or any drug-related charge, it’s smart to get legal guidance to protect your rights.  


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