DEA to lighten regulation of medical marijuana; could national legalization follow? 

The unofficial holiday for marijuana users was 10 days ago, but the federal government just gave pot smokers across the country a belated gift. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced it will move to change the federal classification of marijuana to a less dangerous drug. It would not necessarily make it a fully legal drug just yet, despite a recent call from some members of Congress, including New York Rep. Charles Schumer, to regulate marijuana like alcohol. 

The Associated Press notes the change must be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget, a kind of regulatory approval and guidance system that determines whether proposed legal changes can be justified (and, in some cases, how much money that change could add to the national bank accounts). 

Some 38 states, including New York, have legalized medical marijuana, while 24 states, also including New York, have given recreational use the green light. Marijuana is now estimated to be a $30 billion industry each year. 

The proposal would identify marijuana as having “less potential for abuse than some of the nation’s most dangerous drugs,” the AP notes. 

If approved, it would be the biggest DEA policy change in more than half a century. 

The change would classify marijuana in the same category, Schedule III, as some anabolic steroids and ketamine, a drug that has been used for short-term sedation and anesthesia or for a powerful antidepressant when administered by a doctor. Currently, all marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, on part with heroin and LSD. 

If marijuana is changed to a less serious categorization on the national level, the DEA would still have regulatory control over the drug. 

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In Buffalo and most of Erie County, recreational and medicinal marijuana is now legal, following a law change in March 2021. Some 20 municipalities in Erie County opted out, as was their right under the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA). All adult-use stores selling marijuana for recreational use have to follow certain requirements, including being at least 500 feet away from schools and 200 feet away from churches, synagogues and other houses of worship. 

For people with cancer, glaucoma and other conditions, a medicinal marijuana card can be obtained by petitioning the New York State Department of Health, and applicants must live in the state, be age 18 or older and have been diagnosed as eligible for treatment with marijuana by a certified medical practitioner. 

As of April 1, 2024, there are 116,174 registered users of medical marijuana across New York State, with 4,314 certifying practitioners who can write prescriptions for the drug. 

A recent national poll found a majority of Americans, 70% of adults, are in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, a rate that is more than twice the amount of Americans who supported legalization (30%) when asked in 2000. 

The Wonder Bread Factory Abandoned In Western New York

Facebook user Abandoned and Beyond Buffalo, NY, takes us inside this abandoned factory that has been in need of repair and preservation for years. There have been plans for renovation in the near future, but those are on hold.

The photos shared here are meant for entertainment and educational purposes only. Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so, you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you do not attempt to investigate the inside of abandoned buildings without proper knowledge, experience, and legal authorization.

Gallery Credit: Ed Nice

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