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Possible Impacts of Cannabis Rescheduling on Cannabis Market

3 Mins read

The United States has finalized moves to reschedule cannabis to schedule III. While this may be a welcome idea, it is high time we answer the question if cannabis rescheduling is necessary or not. 

Introduction 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended on August 29, 2023, that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) consider reclassifying cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). These recommendations likely stemmed from the evolving scientific research and changing attitudes towards cannabis. 

Since its legalization in the U.S, cannabis has remained a Schedule I drug, primarily due to THC’s psychotropic effects. The FDA’s proposal to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III reflects evolving attitudes and potential therapeutic uses. However, this shift brings challenges. New regulations must ensure safety and consistency. Legal complexities between federal and state laws need resolution. Public health concerns, especially for vulnerable groups, demand attention. While rescheduling may improve access to medical cannabis, it requires careful consideration of regulatory frameworks, legal harmonization, and public health initiatives to maximize benefits and minimize risks.

What rescheduling cannabis means for the cannabis market?

Schedule III controlled substances are medications with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependency. Typically, drugs such as ketamine and Tylenol with codeine fall under Schedule III, and they are regulated by the federal government, available exclusively with a prescription.

Critics of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation argue that rescheduling cannabis would not bridge the widening gap between state and federal marijuana policies. They emphasize that the majority of state-legal “adult use” or “recreational” cannabis transactions would remain illegal at the federal level. Nevertheless, moving cannabis to Schedule III could bring significant advantages to the industry some of which are discussed below; 

  • Exemption from section 280e of the Internal Revenue code

Specifically, reclassifying cannabis as a Schedule III substance would exempt cannabis businesses from Section 280e of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). This section, which currently applies only to controlled substances on Schedules I and II of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), imposes heavy tax burdens on cannabis businesses. Rescheduling could also foster increased research opportunities and medical applications, reduce criminal penalties for cannabis-related violations, and potentially attract more investors, researchers, and entrepreneurs to the cannabis sector. Shocking marijuana statistics from Nesas Hemp shows marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States with over 48.2 million people using it since 2019.

  • Increased participation from financial institutions

Furthermore, rescheduling may lead to increased participation from financial institutions and other service providers in the industry. Additionally, it could help shift public perceptions about cannabis, emphasizing its safety and medical potential, thereby reducing stigma and increasing acceptance among skeptics regarding its medical use. 

Is cannabis rescheduling necessary? 

Rescheduling marijuana, particularly shifting it from Schedule I to a lower schedule, offers the promise of expanded research opportunities. By easing regulatory constraints, researchers could access cannabis more readily for comprehensive studies on its medicinal properties. This shift may spur clinical trials, observational studies, and preclinical research to uncover marijuana’s efficacy, safety, and mechanisms of action. Increased funding prospects for research initiatives targeting various medical conditions could emerge, facilitating collaboration among researchers, healthcare providers, and government agencies. Ultimately, rescheduling marijuana holds the potential to accelerate scientific advancements in cannabinoid therapeutics, benefiting patient care and public health outcomes.

Contrary to what many people believe, rescheduling marijuana within the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) framework wouldn’t equate to legalizing recreational marijuana sales or a broad spectrum of marijuana products. Instead, it would mean permitting only FDA-approved drugs in specific forms, tested, and endorsed for medical use. This will also tighten the government’s control over the cannabis market and may lead to more strict rules in terms of product quality. 

Conclusion 

While the cannabis industry continues to debate the potential outcomes of rescheduling, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of stringent market regulation and mandatory third-party testing conducted by accredited labs. Shockingly, over 28% of CBD products sold in the U.S. lack testing for pesticides, and approximately 60% are mislabeled. Addressing these issues is paramount to mitigate potential side effects associated with hemp products and also increase the confidence of people using these products. 

Rescheduling or not, it is high time the cannabis market is known for high quality products that are not poisons in disguise. Companies need to invest more in quality testing and getting the right genetics to solve problems. 

Is cannabis rescheduling a right thing to do at the moment? Let us know in the comments section. 

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About author
Daniel Gana is a cannabis scientist, researcher, and content creator. He is interested in psychedelics, cannabis science, cannabis tech, and cannabis cultivation. He applies his knowledge of the cannabis plant to assist cannabis companies with SEO Copywriting, educational content, articles, compliant product descriptions, and emails.
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