By Ben Glickman

Attorney General Merrick Garland has officially initiated the process to reschedule marijuana, the Justice Department said Thursday, moving a proposal to reclassify it as a less dangerous drug one step closer to enactment.

The Justice Department said that Garland had submitted a notice of proposed rulemaking to the Federal Register, starting the process of evaluating a schedule change.

The process also involves a period for public comment, plus the consideration of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I substance, the government's most restrictive classification, since 1970. The proposed rule would move the drug to a Schedule III classification, making it accessible with a medical prescription.

A proposal for the rule change was submitted late last month to the White House for review. President Biden called on regulators to reconsider the classification in 2022.

Write to Ben Glickman at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-16-24 1410ET