This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
States have been moving to legalize marijuana, once banned by both state and federal statutes, over the last decade.
The results have been mixed. Sometimes crime has gone up, and sometimes suicides have gone down. Sometimes mental health issues have surged and sometimes health problems have gone down. One factor that appears consistent is that more young people seem to try it out when states don't prosecute for possession or use.
Of course, it's been illegal under federal law the whole time, proving that the bureaucracy is willing to be blind for some purposes.
What also is known is that modern marijuana is much more potent than the weed of yesteryear and the newest and most dangerous drug threat to Americans is fentanyl, which regularly proves lethal to users.
Now the federal government is being urged to join states in easing its rules on weed.
A report from CNBC explains the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recommended easing restrictions on marijuana.
A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration said the change would potentially expand the market for cannabis, and the impact of the statement was to send shares of marijuana companies higher.
At this point, it's a Schedule I drug, along with heroin, for something that has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
That Schedule I designation has hindered marijuana operators and promoters, and the federal designation makes banks unwilling to provide services to what is an illegal operation.
"After enjoying a sales surge during the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry is in free fall as investors turn away and capital dries up. The industry has also been barred from accessing most banking services, or from being traded across state lines, resulting in a glut of cannabis in many states and a drop in prices," the report explained.
The federal change could open many doors for the industry, which already is a billion-dollar operation in America.
HHS in a letter to the DEA said the reclassification should be done under the Controlled Substances Act.
The change would make marijuana a Schedule III drug, which would be believed to have "a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence."