The US government is reconsidering how it classifies marijuana, and cannabis companies are in party mode.
According to reports, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recommended reclassifying marijuana as a lower-risk Schedule III drug, from Schedule I, easing restrictions on businesses operating in the sector.
In response, shares of smaller operators Jushi Holdings Inc (CSE:JUSH, OTCQX:JUSHF), Delivra Health Brands Inc. (TSX-V:DHB), Planet 13 Holdings Inc (CSE:PLTH, OTCQX:PLNHF) and 1606 Corp. (OTC:CBDW) rallied 36%, 33%, 18% and 17% respectively on Wednesday.
Bigger players joined in, with Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (CSE:TRUL) jumping 35% and Curaleaf Hldgs Inc. (CSE:CURA, OTCQX:CURLF) gaining 19%.
According to the Marijuana Moment website, under HHS, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed a scientific review into cannabis in 2022 following a directive from President Joe Biden. It is now advising the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that it should ease up on restrictions on marijuana.
Cannabis refers to a variety of plants in the cannabis family, while marijuana is a specific strain of cannabis that is known for its psychoactive effects. Cannabis can be used for medicinal and recreational purposes, while marijuana is typically only used for recreational purposes.
As a Schedule III drug, cannabis would still remain federally prohibited. However, the rescheduling would have major implications for researchers who’ve long criticized the Schedule I classification that creates significant barriers to access for studies, Marijuana Moment noted.
“Following the data and science, HHS has expeditiously responded to President Biden’s directive to HHS Secretary Becerra and provided its scheduling recommendation for marijuana to the DEA on August 29, 2023,” an HHS spokesperson said in a statement to Marijuana Moment on Wednesday.
“This administrative process was completed in less than 11 months, reflecting this department’s collaboration and leadership to ensure that a comprehensive scientific evaluation be