The administration's proposal is seen as the biggest reform attempt in 50 years to reduce restrictions on cannabis use in the country. But the Justice Department's proposal faces a long approval process. After the plan is officially announced, the public will have 60 days to comment. Biden called this step "an important development to address long-standing inequalities." In a statement on social media platform X, Biden said, "Many lives have been turned upside down because of our unworkable approach to marijuana. I am determined to right historical wrongs like these," he wrote. Biden has been an anti-marijuana politician in the past. But ahead of the presidential elections in November, this step could rebuild support among young voters for Biden, the Democratic Party candidate.

The Justice Department's proposal to downgrade marijuana would not directly legalize recreational marijuana use, as is the case in 24 states and Washington DC. In addition, the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal in 38 states in the US.

If the US administration's proposal is approved, marijuana will be downgraded from a Class 1 controlled substance to a Class 3 controlled substance. This means that the federal government will no longer put marijuana in the same category as dangerous and addictive substances such as ecstasy, heroin and LSD (acid). Substances in category 3 are considered to pose a low or moderate "risk of abuse" to users. This includes anabolic steroids, ketamine and testosterone.

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Cannabis has been in category 1 since 1970, when the Controlled Substances Act was passed. This step by the Justice Department is expected to revitalize the legal cannabis industry by facilitating the sector's access to traditional banking services or foreign investment.

According to Reuters, after the decision, the shares of companies producing legal marijuana increased by 4 percent in the US stock markets.

Editor: David Goodman