Historic Shift: Cannabis Rescheduling Possibly Explained

Vangst/Jan 19, 2024

hero-graphic-Historic Shift: Cannabis Rescheduling Possibly Explained

In this groundbreaking episode of the Proud to Work in Cannabis podcast, we dive deep into the monumental news that has the cannabis industry buzzing: the U.S. government's confirmation of a recommendation to move cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3.

Join us as we sit down with the policy experts from the National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) - Saphira Galoob, Erin Moffet, and David Mangone - to dissect what this means for the future of cannabis.

Official Confirmation of Cannabis Rescheduling Recommendation

The U.S. government has officially confirmed that health officials have recommended the DEA to reclassify cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3. This is a historic moment, as it's the first time a government entity has acknowledged the need to move cannabis to a less restrictive schedule, recognizing its medical value.

Inside the DEA's Cannabis Rescheduling: What the New Documents Reveal

Saphira moderated the conversation, explaining the significance of the move and the process behind it. She clarified that rescheduling cannabis wasn't possible under the criteria set by the Health and Human Services (HHS), but moving to Schedule 3 was within reach and is a significant step forward.

David, the Director of Policy at NCR, discussed the precedent set by this recommendation and the likelihood of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) following through based on historical actions. He also touched on the implications for the Department of Justice and the potential impact on criminal justice reform.

Erin provided context on the medical use of cannabis and how state programs contributed to the HHS's findings. The acknowledgment of medical use by the federal government is a monumental shift that could influence global drug policy.

Impact on DEA Funding and Illicit Market Enforcement

The team also addressed concerns about DEA funding and enforcement, suggesting that a reclassification to Schedule 3 could actually lead to more focused efforts on combating the illicit market without disrupting state-legal cannabis operations. They argue that the politics of funding are complex and go beyond the scope of scheduling. While there may be some outliers in Congress who oppose cannabis reform, the overall support for a more predictable regulatory environment and the reconciliation of federal and state laws is growing. Therefore, it is unlikely that DEA funding would be negatively impacted by the reclassification of cannabis.

In terms of the illicit market, the speakers believe that Schedule 3 would support the state regulatory environment as the primary place for cannabis regulation. They argue that the reclassification would empower state governments to seek federal assistance in combating illicit activity and strengthening the regulated market. While the politics of federal and state government funding may come into play, the reclassification lays the groundwork for a more productive dialogue between the two levels of government.

The Potential Timeline for DEA and DOJ Actions

The host, Karson, posed questions from Vangst board members and the audience, seeking to understand the potential timeline for the DEA's rule making and the impact of public discourse on the DEA's decision-making process. The NCR team provided their informed, yet cautious, predictions and emphasized the unpredictability of government actions. While there is no specific deadline for the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to respond to the rule making, there are certain deadlines and considerations that the White House and DOJ need to be mindful of to ensure that their rulemaking is done in a way that prevents it from being overturned.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the podcast highlights the challenges faced by investors in the cannabis industry. It emphasizes the risks and uncertainties associated with investing in a federally illegal industry. However, it also recognizes the historic nature of the industry's transformation and the potential for significant growth. Ultimately, the podcast encourages investors to stay committed and persevere through the challenges, highlighting the potential rewards that await those who are willing to stick it out.

For those interested in joining the conversation or learning more about NCR, visit nationalcannabisroundtable.org. Stay tuned for more updates and discussions on the ever-evolving cannabis industry.

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