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Schedule I to Schedule III



It's happening. Cannabis is going to move from Schedule I to Schedule III on the DEA controlled substance list. It's not enough, it's not what we wanted but it's HUGE news and it's going to make a difference in this crazy turbulent industry.


Moving cannabis to Schedule III means a few important things. First and foremost, it means cannabis has proven medical usage! This, to me, has been the craziest part of this messed up political cluster that has been preventing us from being able to tap into cannabis's full medical potential.


Am I the only one who has felt like we are living in an alternate universe where the things we know cannabis does medically, like help people with seizure disorders or give people back their appetite or relieve pain or lessen anxiety or so many other things don't actually exist? Some proven, some still anecdotal but we've known. People are scared of cannabis but the medical evidence has been there. I will continue this rant but let me finish talking about all the rescheduling benefits first.


One huge benefit is that 280E will be in the history books for cannabis. 280E has been a thorn in the side of cannabis operators that has prevented them from being able to take normal business tax deductions because it's federal law that no business should benefit from a Schedule I controlled substance. This became more of a knife in the side of smaller operators recently when large operators were able to revise their taxes and take tax breaks they couldn't have before seemingly by claiming that since flower contains THCa until it combusts, it can be considered hemp and not subject to 280E.


When I've been imagining this day where cannabis is no longer Schedule I, the thing that makes me the happiest for the industry is knowing that everyone can now take these tax breaks, whether they have the money to pay teams to find loopholes or not. These are the people I fight for and their runways just got a lot longer. Congratulations to everyone who has fought to get here, it hasn't been easy and it's not getting much easier but it'll help. 280E Bye!


The final thing that rescheduling will do is it will change the way we can do research on cannabis. Schedule I licenses are tough to get and research on cannabis has been challenging and very regulated. As a Schedule III substance, more research will happen. It's not going to be a tidal wave, cannabis is still federally illegal and companies will still have hesitations about it but there's so much potential, I can't imagine this opportunity being left on the table.


This brings me to my personal experience which makes this rescheduling news hit me in a unique way (and back to my rant). I worked in pharmaceuticals for 11 years during and after college. During most of that time, I held the DEA controlled substance license for the company. This was a very interesting role for me because I also was a daily cannabis consumer. Fortunately, they did not drug test me and I've been lucky that, due to my privilege, I have a clean record.


Similar to most pharma companies, we had a Schedule II license, which allowed us to purchase and store morphine, ketamine and even cocaine but never any type of cannabis. This is a big reason why we haven't made progress on cannabis research which would have proven medical benefits a long time ago (ahhh the irony!). Being so intimately connected to this reality affected me in a number of ways but I'd say most importantly it resulted in me staying closeted about my cannabis use. There was a conflict in my life that wasn't resolved until I came over and started working in cannabis. And after the rescheduling news, it's another step towards righting the wrongs from the incredibly damaging war on drugs.


Leading me to my conclusion. What does this rescheduling not do? It does nothing for decriminalization or helping all those still imprisoned for non-violent cannabis offenses. It also does nothing for social equity. This doesn't help give a leg up to the people who were affected most by the war on drugs which is what we should be doing. It also does nothing for banking. There is a good chance that credit card companies will start allowing transactions now that cannabis has been deemed an accepted medicine but cannabis is still illegal federally so the larger banking challenges that we all face will persist until that changes.


Let's ride this momentum from the scheduling change and continue to fight for more. Decriminalization. Descheduling. Federal Legalization. Social Equity.





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