As everybody already knows, cannabis is still federally illegal, but a growing number of states have made their stance clear on the subject. Recently, many state representatives have been evaluating every possible angle to create a program that won’t get interfered with by the federal government, especially in light of the recent comments coming out of the White House. Some have tried to create “sanctuary states”, some have spoken out publicly about Jeff Sessions and the repeal of the Cole Memo, and some have made attempts at finding a way to “reschedule” cannabis. On the surface, rescheduling cannabis seems like it would be an obvious solution that addresses all of the red tape in one, single motion, but here’s why a rescheduling of cannabis would actually be your worst nightmare.
Cannabis is a Schedule I drug under federal drug laws, which puts it among the likes of heroin, LSD, MDMA and methamphetamine. Getting federal approval to study Schedule I drugs is incredibly difficult and requires researchers to jump through an absurd number of hoops, let alone obtaining federal funding to perform that study. It makes it nearly impossible for researchers to prove that the drug has any medical value because they can’t clear the hurdles in order to begin the study in the first place. So it makes sense to think that rescheduling cannabis to a Schedule II or Schedule III drug would open the door to study it and prove the medical value, right? While that is accurate, one of the key characteristics of a Schedule I drug is that it cannot be prescribed by a pharmacist or any licensed doctor.
Why does that matter?
The fact that cannabis is a Schedule I drug is the only reason we haven’t seen the overwhelming financial power of the behemoth industries like big pharma and traditional retail come blazing into the cannabiz. That schedule I status means they won’t touch it and don’t want anything to do with it. They can’t study it and they can’t prescribe it, so they have no means of getting involved financially unless the government changes that status.
To me, the thing that makes the cannabis industry so incredible is the endless opportunity that it provides to all of us; this industry is a perfect example of the American dream. We have an unprecedented chance to grow an industry from the ground up the way we see fit; without heavy influence from government regulators and major industries with significant financial backings. Just about anybody can get into this industry and work to make something of themselves. While we face an unusual amount of grey-area and financial challenges in our industry, such as banking, tax difficulties, high licensing costs, those obstacles give us a head-start to get into this industry and grow our business as quickly as we can before the major industries jump in and start to overtake small businesses. Giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to create a successful business from the ground up – it truly embodies the American dream.
If cannabis is rescheduled, this industry is going to change faster than we know how to react. There are corporations in big tobacco and big pharma that are waiting to pounce as soon as that red tape gets removed. The longer we make them wait, the more established we’re able to become and the harder it gets for corporate America to squeeze your business out.