EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) — A local criminal defense attorney explains what it means for the U.S. Department of Justice to try and reclassify marijuana on the federal level.

The proposed reclassification of marijuana would change it from a schedule one drug to a schedule three drug, which would recognize that the drug has less of a potential for abuse.

“Schedule one is your heavy drugs, your methamphetamines, your fentanyls, your heroin, your cocaine, and marijuana was in that category. Now it’s going to a schedule two, which is basically maybe ketamine, anabolic steroids,” says Luis Gutierrez, a local criminal defense attorney.

Gutierrez — who works at a local, state, federal, and juvenile level — says that the reclassification of marijuana would change what someone could be charged with for possessing the drug in the state of Texas.

Well, if you’ve been arrested for it, it just really kind of depends on which agency arrests you.

Gutierrez also says he believes it is not worth it for local authorities to arrest people for marijuana unless the possession is excessive.

“In fact, here in El Paso, it’s just site and release on marijuana right now. I think it just cost way too much money to house people and wait for bond reductions and things like that. I have not seen a possession of marijuana case here in El Paso arrest in maybe two years,” says Gutierrez.

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Some people believe reclassifying marijuana at the federal level could benefit the community and state overall.

“It’s a step forward. I feel that it’s gonna benefit the industry because I mean a lot of people are not gonna have that like fear to come and like get their medication,” says Manfred Strobach, the general manager of Fields of Dreams Dispensary in Sunland Park, New Mexico.

“I think that’s going to benefit everybody, taxpayers, citizens, everybody, because I mean, it’s taxable. So it goes back to the government and helps build schools and roads and all that,” says Jesus Sanchez, an El Paso resident.

This move to reclassify marijuana also has people believing that states where weed isn’t legal could eventually open the door to its legality.

“I want to tell you that it’s a tough state, but I hope they legalize it soon but I know it’s going to be a while,” shared Sanchez.

“I mean like Texas has a record of going against it But hopefully, you know like seeing how like the benefits that it brings like to the community and also the state So I’m pretty sure like they’ll be inclined,” shared Strobach.

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The reclassification hasn’t been fully approved just yet– and there is no telling of how long the process will take.

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