On August 29, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) requesting that marijuana be rescheduled under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). The health agency recommended that marijuana be reclassified from a Schedule I drug under the CSA to a Schedule III drug.
Currently, marijuana is regulated the same as drugs such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, among others. According to the DEA, these substances are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. If the DEA approves the recommendation to reclassify marijuana to a Schedule III drug, it would be grouped with drugs such as codeine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone. According to the DEA, these drugs have a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. More importantly, a less restrictive classification would allow for expanded research opportunities that could lead to marijuana-based medicines.
It is important to note that even if marijuana were downgraded to Schedule III, it would remain an illegal substance at the federal level. As such, any construction workplace where federal law currently prohibits marijuana, if it were downgraded to Schedule III, would still remain in place.
As the legal landscape surrounding marijuana evolves, AGC will continue to advocate for an employer’s right to maintain safe workplaces. It is critical that workplace safety remains a priority in these discussions, and that an employer’s rights to maintain a safe, healthy, and drug-free workplace are taken into full consideration.