The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recommended reclassifying cannabis as a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substance Act.

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that a letter from an HHS official to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram advises the Drug Enforcement Administration to move cannabis from Schedule I — where it’s classified alongside heroin, ecstasy and LSD — to Schedule III. 

The DEA considers Schedule I drugs to have no accepted medical use, a lack of safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse. However, state medical programs allow the use of cannabis for treatment of conditions including glaucoma, PTSD and cancer, among others.

Schedule III drugs have less potential for abuse, and they may lead to low-to-moderate physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Other drugs in this category include Tylenol with codeine, anabolic steroids, ketamine and Suboxone, which is used to treat opioid use disorder.

In October, President Joe Biden called on the HHS and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to initiate a review process for the classification of cannabis. The DEA must now conduct its own review process.

Saphira Galoob, executive director of the National Cannabis Roundtable, pointed to how the rescheduling could make doing business easier for the cannabis industry.

“For half a century, cannabis has been inappropriately classified with no real scientific basis to the detriment of patients and those persecuted under the misguided drug war,” Galoob said. “With the conclusion of the scientific review by HHS, this historic recommendation to lessen federal restrictions on cannabis and affirming that cannabis has medical value is a major win for patients and should help undo decades of misguided drug policy. At the end of this process, if cannabis ultimately is moved to Schedule III or lower, it will also alleviate the overwhelming tax burden currently facing legal cannabis businesses, which along with the lack of access to capital, is strangling the regulated industry to the benefit of the illicit market.