PEORIA (25News Now) – The Biden administration has made a push to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug.

The proposed rule was sent to the federal government on Thursday after the Department of Public Health found that cannabis has high medical value and low abuse potential.

“They took it to Schedule III, unlike where it previously was, at Schedule I, where you have drugs like heroin, which have a high abuse potential, or if you look at Schedule II, fentanyl, which also has a high abuse potential,” said Tommy Nafso, CEO of NOXX Cannabis in East Peoria.

While marijuana is under Schedule I, cannabis dispensaries are subject to tax provisions that prevent the write-off of certain expenses, such as employee wages.

Nafso says his company’s tax rate equals about 70% of its revenue.

However, that tax code only applies to Schedule I and II classifications. Recognizing cannabis as Schedule III would address that.

“We can provide lower pricing and make more money,” Nafso said. “The way that our customers and East Peoria, Peoria, and Illinois broadly will benefit is that the saving to the business, the tax savings, should be passed onto the customer.”

Although the rescheduling recognizes that marijuana is safer than some other drugs, it has not been legalized nationally for recreational use.

However, the executive director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois, Tiffany Ingram, thinks it will remove some of the negative stigma both in medicinal and recreational use.

“I would hope that the signaling of rescheduling and recognizing the medical benefits and the lack of dangerousness of the product will encourage more states which are a little bit more hesitant,” Ingram said.

Following the reclassification, President Biden has also moved to pardon thousands of people convicted federally for marijuana possession.

In Illinois, Gov. Pritzker has pardoned over 11,000 people for minor possession since adult use became legal.

“Whether it be federal or local law that has set aside those convictions or hasn’t happened yet and is going to happen in certain places, I think it’s definitely a welcome result and change,” Nafso said.

There are still rules concerning possession of Schedule III drugs; people who traffic or deal them without permission can still face criminal charges.

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 East Peoria dispensary owner explains why consumers will benefit.  Read More