Dr. Drew reveals potential fallout from DOJ's marijuana reclassification: There are 'real consequences'

Biden admin begins formal process to reclassify marijuana as less dangerous drug

Dr. Drew Pinsky — the famed TV personality and addiction specialist — has "very complicated" feelings about a nationwide drug declassification for marijuana.

"I've always taken the position that, I'm not making the laws. The people make the laws, the legislatures make the laws," Dr. Drew said Wednesday on "The Bottom Line." "But I have to deal with the laws that they provide us. And in California, I've gotten to see firsthand exactly what the consequences are."

Last week, the Biden administration submitted a proposal seeking to begin the formal process of reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous drug.

The Department of Justice announced that Attorney General Merrick Garland submitted the proposal to the Federal Register, with the intent of having the drug dropped to a Schedule III drug from Schedule I, as classified under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).


Congress enacted the CSA in 1970, and ever since the act’s establishment, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I drug, but is currently medically permitted in 38 states and sold recreationally in 24.

Dr Drew on marijuana reclassification

Dr. Drew Pinsky talked about the "big problem" with the federal legalization of marijuana on "The Bottom Line" on Wednesday. (Fox News)

"All of us know somebody who smokes weed on a regular basis, and they're fine. Some of them are high-profile public figures, no problem. But other people get into serious trouble," Pinsky said before noting that his daughter is recovering from a cannabis addiction.

The "big problem" with the marijuana industry today, according to Pinsky, is that "the cannabis now is 90 to 100% concentrated. Back when we were in high school, when I was in high school, [it] was under 10%. So it's, literally, orders of magnitude more powerful."

Data from recent analysis and studies out of the American Journal of Psychiatry and Truveta have found that the risk of developing bipolar or schizophrenic disorders was highest for cannabis users aged 16 to 25, and had a greater influence than alcohol, opioids, amphetamines and hallucinogens.

Additionally, the rates of cannabis-use disorder diagnoses were more than 50% higher in November 2023 than compared to the same time in 2019. There was also a nearly 50% increase in the number of cannabis-related emergency room visits.

"You're seeing much more frequent addiction… we're seeing bipolar disorder, we're seeing schizophrenia… and a certain percentage of these kids don't recover. So it is something to take very, very seriously," Pinsky said. "There are real consequences from it."

Dr. Drew ultimately noted it’s up to every individual to decide whether they use marijuana or not if it becomes federally legalized.


Until a final rule is released from the Drug Enforcement Agency, however, marijuana will continue to be classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.

"Our laws around… substances generally are kind of silly," Pinsky said. "The only reason I like it when things are illegal is it helps me treat people with their addictions, because if there are consequences and when people lose their freedoms, it's easier to motivate them to come and get some help."


Fox News’ Greg Wehner contributed to this report.