The Drug Enforcement Agency is expected to make a determination on whether it will reclassify marijuana as less dangerous by mid-year, documents obtained by The Huffington Post revealed Wednesday.
“DEA understands the widespread interest in the prompt resolution to these petitions and hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016,” the statement said.
The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug lumps it in with Heroin, LSD, and the date rape drug GHB, drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
The DEA's announcement comes in response to a 2015 letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and seven other Democratic senators who urged the federal government to facilitate research into marijuana’s medical benefits.
The U.S. has five categories, or schedules, classifying illegal drugs or chemicals that can be used to make them.
Rescheduling marijuana wouldn’t make it legal, but it could ease restrictions on research and reduce penalties for marijuana offenses.
This announcement comes on the heels of a protest this weekend more than 100 cannabis advocates protesting in front of the White House with a 50-foot inflatable joint urging President Obama to, “Reschedule Cannabis Now”.