A GOP-led House committee is directing the Biden administration to account for how it arrived at the decision to reschedule marijuana, while also expressing concerns about cannabis-impaired driving and the market for intoxicating hemp-based cannabinoids.

In a series of reports attached to 2025 Fiscal Year spending bills being considered by the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, lawmakers addressed a variety of marijuana-related issues. One of those is the Justice Department’s proposal to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Just one day after the committee approved appropriations legislation with a section that would block DOJ from using its funds to reschedule or deschedule cannabis, members are taking up several other bills with reports addressing the proposed scheduling change, as well as other marijuana and psychedelics topics.

In the report for the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration (Ag/FDA) appropriations bill, there’s an explicit directive for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general to explain to Congress FDA’s 2023 scientific review into cannabis that led to a Schedule III reclassification recommendation.

That report would need to look at “deviations” from the historical analytical process, justifications for the policy change, the decision to compare marijuana to certain drugs over others to reach its conclusion and more. The section of the report also urges FDA to study the potential mental health implications of regularly using high-potency THC products.

The implied criticism of the review process, as well as the discussion about THC potency, echo points made by prohibitionist organizations such as Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), which has taken credit for influencing lawmakers to raise its concerns in various legislation.

“Marijuana Rescheduling.—The Committee is concerned about deviations from established drug scheduling evaluation standards in the FDA 2023 marijuana scheduling review. The Committee directs the HHS Inspector General to complete a report on the 2023 marijuana scheduling review including but not limited to: deviations from the established five-factor currently accepted medical use test, justification for a new, two-factor currently accepted medical use test and whether this will be the standard for all future reviews, use of a limited number of hand-selected comparator substances, and inclusion of research results that are not statistically significant or inconclusive. The Committee is concerned about reports of the mental health hazards of regular use of high-potency marijuana, particularly among adolescents. The Committee encourages the FDA to support research on high-potency marijuana and its effects on the adolescent brain, specifically regarding addiction and mental illness such as schizophrenia or psychosis.”

There’s a similar section included in the report for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LaborH) spending bill. However, it lacks an explicit directive to complete a report and instead simply says it “supports efforts” to do so.

“Marijuana Scheduling.—The Committee is also concerned about deviations from established drug scheduling evaluation standards in the FDA 2023 marijuana scheduling review. The Committee supports efforts to compile a report on the 2023 marijuana scheduling review including: (1) deviations from the established five-factor currently accepted medical use test, (2) justification for a new, two-factor currently accepted medical use test and whether this will be the standard for all future reviews, (3) use of a limited number of hand-selected comparator substances, and (4) inclusion of research results that are not statistically significant or inconclusive.”

GOP senators have separately tried to block the administration from rescheduling cannabis as part of a standalone bill filed last September, but that proposal has not received a hearing or vote.

There’s also new report language included in the committee-approved bills that focuses on impaired driving concerns related to cannabis.

The LaborH report, for example, says the committee is “concerned that development of a drug-impairment standard for marijuana remains unlikely in the near-term,” and it wants the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue promoting research to that end.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Further, it encourages a diversification of the types of cannabis that are used to conduct the impaired driving research.

“Marijuana Research.—The Committee is concerned that development of a drug-impairment standard for marijuana remains unlikely in the near-term and encourages NIH to continue supporting a full range of research on the health effects of marijuana and its components, including research to understand how marijuana policies affect public health issues such as drug-impaired driving. The Committee is aware that the majority of Federal research has been limited to marijuana from a single source and encourages NIH to undertake research that strives to encompass the diversity, quality, and potency of commonly available cannabis strains within the current constraints of law. Additionally, the Committee continues to support the development of an objective standard to measure marijuana impairment and a related objective field sobriety test to ensure highway safety.”

Another report for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill similarly addresses the impaired driving issue, with the committee saying it “recognizes that as more jurisdictions legalize the use of recreational cannabis, law enforcement officers will need additional reliable tools to protect drivers and other road users.”

To that end, it’s directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to work with other federal agencies to “assess currently available and potentially commercially feasible technology that could be used by highway enforcement authorities to assess cannabis-related intoxication.” It would be required to brief congressional appropriators about its findings within a year of enactment.

“Cannabis-related impairment standards and technology.—The Committee recognizes that as more jurisdictions legalize the use of recreational cannabis, law enforcement officers will need additional reliable tools to protect drivers and other road users. The Committee directs NHTSA, in coordination with other relevant federal agencies, to assess currently available and potentially commercially feasible technology that could be used by highway enforcement authorities to assess cannabis-related intoxication. NHTSA shall provide a briefing to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on the findings of the assessment within one year of enactment of this Act. The Committee simultaneously supports the development of an objective standard to measure marijuana impairment and a related field sobriety to test ensure highway safety.”

The LaborH legislation also contains a different cannabis research report section that expresses concern about “reports of the mental health hazards of regular use of high-potency marijuana, particularly among youth” and urges HHS to support research looking into the issue.

“Marijuana Research.—The Committee is concerned about reports of the mental health hazards of regular use of high-potency marijuana, particularly among youth. The Committee encourages HHS to support research on high-potency marijuana and its effects on the adolescent brain, specifically regarding addiction and mental illness such as schizophrenia or psychosis.”

For Ag/FDA, the report separately discusses the committee’s worries about unregulated cannabis products, including those for which a business is making unsanctioned claims about therapeutic potential. It wants FDA to “continue and increase” efforts to take enforcement actions against bad actors in the hemp space.

“It is also imperative that FDA continue to exercise its existing authorities to preserve incentives to invest in robust clinical study of cannabis so its therapeutic value can be better understood,” it added.

“Cannabidiol Oil Enforcement.—The Committee is concerned about the proliferation of products marketed in violation of the FFDCA, including products containing derivatives of the cannabis plant. The Committee is aware that non-FFDCA-compliant products pose potential health and safety risks to consumers through misleading, unsubstantiated, and false claims that cannabis and cannabis derivatives can treat serious and life-threatening diseases and conditions, including COVID–19 and cancer. Such products may also be contaminated with harmful substances. The Committee recognizes FDA’s use of existing authorities to undertake cannabis-related efforts, including research, requests for data, consumer education, issuance of guidance and policy around cannabis-based drug product development, and enforcement against wrongdoers. The Committee expects FDA to continue and increase these efforts given the proliferation of non-FFDCA-compliant, cannabis-containing products and the risks they pose to public health. The Committee also expects FDA to take enforcement action against the manufacturers of any cannabis products marketed with unlawful therapeutic claims to preserve the integrity of the drug development and approval processes, which ensures that products, including cannabis-containing products, marketed as drugs have undergone a rigorous scientific evaluation to assure that they are safe, pure, potent, and effective for the diseases and conditions they claim to treat. It is also imperative that FDA continue to exercise its existing authorities to preserve incentives to invest in robust clinical study of cannabis so its therapeutic value can be better understood.”

Relatedly, the committee is calling on FDA to evaluate the “safety implications of ingestible, inhalable, or topical products on the market that contain intoxicating cannabinoids” and brief Congress on its finding within 180 days of enactment.

“Intoxicating Cannabidiols.—The Committee directs the FDA to evaluate the safety implications of ingestible, inhalable, or topical products on the market that contain intoxicating cannabinoids. FDA should provide a briefing to the committee within 180 days of the passage of this bill on the authorities needed to adequately regulate cannabinoid hemp products, including authorities to support consumer safety, such as labeling and adverse event reporting.”

Another section directs FDA to “improve data sharing and coordination between state and federal authorities” as it relates to cannabis.

“State Regulatory Frameworks.—The Committee directs FDA to improve data sharing and coordination between state and federal authorities, such as by expanding on the Cannabinoid Hemp Product 20.88 Information Sharing Agreement initiative.”

The report further says recognizes that there are certain cannabis-based medications that FDA has approved containing CBD, so it made clear that the a section of the bill to restrict hemp-derived cannabinoid products does not apply to those prescription drugs.

“Epilepsy Medication.—The Committee recognizes certain products have gone through and received FDA approval with a product that contains cannabidiol. Section 760 of the bill accompanying this report does not affect that drug approval.”

Finally, the Ag/FDA legislation says that the committee “recognizes the increased interest and need to study psychedelics and qualified plant-based alternative therapies, and their potential therapeutic effects.” FDA is being encouraged to work with the Department of Defense (DOD) “to improve our understanding of psychedelics.”

“Breakthrough Therapies.—The Committee recognizes the increased interest and need to study psychedelics and qualified plant-based alternative therapies, and their potential therapeutic effects. The Committee encourages FDA to work with the DoD on leveraging clinical trials, as authorized by title 10 United States Code, chapter 55, to improve our understanding of psychedelics. The Committee also encourages FDA and DoD to work together in developing and supporting public-private collaborations to advance psychedelic research for therapeutic purposes.”

This appears to be partly responsive to a DOD mandate to conduct clinical trials into certain psychedelics for active duty military service members under a large-scale defense bill that President Joe Biden signed last December.

Meanwhile, the House Rules Committee last month rejected multiple marijuana-related amendments to a series of spending bills, including proposals to ban certain federal agencies from testing job applicants for cannabis and prevent border patrol agents from seizing marijuana from state-licensed businesses.

The Appropriations Committee separately passed another spending bill last month that was amended to remove provisions safeguarding banks that work with state-licensed cannabis businesses. Members also reattached a section blocking Washington, D.C. from legalizing marijuana sales that was omitted from the base bill.

New Washington Ballot Measure Would Legalize Psychedelic Plants And Fungi

Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

The post GOP Congressional Panel Directs Biden Admin To Explain Marijuana Rescheduling Decision, Saying It’s ‘Concerned’ About ‘Deviations’ appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Read MoreMarijuana Moment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *