The dream of having marijuana removed as a Schedule One drug which has a classification comparable to heroin could actually end up being catastrophic for the industry.
A move for the reclassification of weed to a Schedule II level could in fact result in draconian control of the weed industry by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Democrat Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer (NY) last month voiced his intentions of introducing a bill that will decriminalize pot at federal level. If successful, the bill would ensure that pot completely vanishes from the controlled substances list.
However, what seems more plausible is that marijuana will be rescheduled as a Category II substance, a measure that is supported by a group of Capitol Hill lawmakers. This would mean that cannabis will become legal for medicinal use, but will remain a regulated drug.
This scenario seems the most plausible but could backfire on the very people it’s meant to help – medical marijuana patients.
How will the FDA control the pot industry?
- The FDA will dictate the packaging and marketing strategies of products containing cannabis. This, in itself, will not be a major issue as is doesn’t give the FDA excessive control. All it means is that the FDA will have the final say when it comes to issues such as childproof and tamper-resistant packaging methods.
- Reclassification could also give the FDA control over critical issues such as the cultivation, processing and distribution of medical marijuana? This, in turn, would give the FDA the power to control THC content – the compound in weed which makes us “high”. It would also control CBD consistency levels – CBD is the non-psychoactive ingredient in weed that is being increasingly used in a variety of medications.
- A further and far-reaching control mechanism could be the FDA’s power to dictate that industry players organize clinical studies to demonstrate just how effective a cannabis medication would be to help a specific ailment. This will cost the industry time and money because clinical studies are drawn out and are expensive.
- Companies that market Schedule II drugs have to abide by a US tax code that prohibits them from taking advantage of run-of-the-mill corporate income tax deductions.
Now, all of that leads us to the latest efforts by two intrepid congressmen from Florida – Republican Matt Gaetz and Democrat Darren Soto – who are seeking to introduce a bill to change marijuana to the Schedule III category. If they are successful, regulating the weed industry will be in the primary control of state governments, negating the possibility of overbearing FDA control.
But the pessimistic belief is that decriminalizing marijuana at federal level remains a far cry. They point to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to cement their argument. The AG is a vociferous opponent of any plans to expand the legal weed industry, and has made it abundantly clear that he will fight these measures at every level.
Add to that the Trump administration’s rebuttal of any marijuana reform moves and the American weed industry’s rescheduling hopes fade into the far distance.
Nothing can stop the pot march
Nevertheless, nothing can stop the marijuana march across the country with 29 states having legalized the substance, either for medical use or for both medicinal and recreational use. Weed is expected to generate $47 billion in legal sales within the next decade, having already increased by 33% with sales figures reaching $9.7 billion.
Canada is expected to legalize recreational use this summer, having approved medical pot back in 2001, and to the south, Mexico approved medical marijuana use in mid-2017.
Add to this the growing public support and it is easy to understand why marijuana stocks have soared, and continue to soar, on the market.In North America, public pot approval has risen from 25% in 1995 to 64% in October 2017. Apart from increased public support, marijuana will feed government coffers with much-needed tax sales funds and create a substantial number of much-needed employment opportunities across the country.
Cannabis plays a significant role in the treatment of medical ailments
There is substantiated proof that cannabis contains properties to effectively deal with a number of medical conditions. A UK-based pharmaceutical company has recently developed a drug called Epidiolex that treats rare forms of seizures in children known as Dravet’s and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. In clinical trials, the company produced overwhelming evidence of the efficacy of the drug to control seizures. When Epidiolex is launched on the market inJune it could become the very first cannabis medication that receives the FDA’s stamp of approval.
If marijuana is removed as a schedule I drug it could give the Food and Drug Administration draconian control of the weed industry.
Capitol Hill lawmakers favor rescheduling pot as a Schedule II substance which will make cannabis legal for medicinal use but keep it classified as an illegal substance at federal level.
No matter what happens, marijuana is on its way to a massive $47 billion turnover within the next decade.
The first-ever cannabis-based medication that treats a rare form of seizures in children it set to take the market by storm next month and could become the very first cannabis-laced medication to receive the FDA’s stamp of approval.