The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reportedly proposed rescheduling cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act. Before taking effect, the DEA’s proposal must undergo public comment and official review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

For Americans who live in a state with a medical cannabis program, and for many others across the country seeking access to medical cannabis, this is a positive step forward that will deliver real benefits for medical cannabis patients, providers, and researchers.

However, it is important to acknowledge that rescheduling would not affect the criminalization of medical cannabis patients and adult-use cannabis consumers under state laws. Given the strong support among American voters for comprehensive federal cannabis reform, this modest step forward will need to be followed by legislative action.

It is absurd to consider cannabis to be more dangerous than cocaine, as is the case today. It will remain absurd to consider cannabis to be more dangerous than alcohol, Xanax, and Valium, which will still be the case after this rescheduling takes effect.

Rescheduling cannabis will not resolve the conflicts between state and federal law, so we must also continue the work of enacting sensible and fair cannabis legalization at the state level – primarily by passing laws through legislatures. Rescheduling marijuana will help make cannabis more accessible for research, and help remove the stigma of medical cannabis, making it easier to pass state medical cannabis laws.

It will also remove some of the tax barriers preventing cannabis businesses from operating on a level playing field with other legal industries. States that have legalized cannabis have already generated more than $20 billion in tax revenue, created over 400,000 jobs, and boosted their economies. The move to reschedule cannabis can bring increased investment, job creation, and tax revenue in states where cannabis is legal for medical or recreational use.

Ultimately, rescheduling also increases pressure on Congress and the president to stop criminalizing cannabis consumers and providers, and to enact comprehensive federal legalization.