Anti-Cannabis Group Raises Money To Scuttle DEA Rescheduling Effort

Zinger Key Points
  • DEA moves to reclassifies cannabis to Schedule III, while anti-legalization group leads fundraising efforts to oppose it.
  • Proponents say the ultimate argument for legalization is that cannabis use is independent of its legal status.

When the April 30 news that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was intending to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act, the cannabis industry across the board went into a state of collective elation.

Although it’s not full federal legalization, this shift removes another barrier toward a freer environment for users and the industry. However, not everyone is celebrating. High Times reported that some groups are already mobilizing to contest the move.

Opposition Mobilizes Against DEA Decision

Almost immediately following the DEA’s announcement, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a prominent anti-cannabis group, began soliciting donations to oppose this change. Labeling their fundraising effort as the “Rescheduling Legal Defense Fund,” SAM is seeking significant contributions. Suggested donations range from $250 to $5,000.

The head of this group, Kevin Sabet also posted on Twitter that “according to two confidential sources inside the DEA” DEA administrator Anne Milgram, "did not sign the rescheduling order". That smoke dissipated when Milgram publicly clarified that the rulemaking process is “ongoing.”

Read also: DEA And Cannabis Rescheduling: A Rollercoaster Ride You Don’t Want To Miss, But Keep Your Seatbelts On

Economic Implications For Cannabis Businesses

The reclassification of marijuana could lead to considerable financial relief for cannabis businesses, which face substantial fiscal burdens under the Schedule I classification. Moving cannabis to Schedule III will alleviate the punitive effects of tax code 280E, which does not allow cannabis companies to declare normal business deductions. This change is seen as a crucial win for the industry, potentially boosting profitability for state-legal cannabis enterprises.

Debating THC Potency And Public Safety

In SAMs website we find resistance in the name of “preventing another Big Tobacco.” This argument echoes outdated stigmas portraying cannabis as an addictive substance – stigmas born from decades of propaganda that have hindered health treatments, scientific progress and personal freedom during the 50-year prohibition era.

The discussion around high-potency THC products remains contentious. Critics like SAM argue that this change will normalize the use of potent THC products, comparing the potential public health impact to that of alcohol. However, legalization allows for better-regulated and clearly labeled products, enabling consumers to make informed decisions based on their tolerance levels. Also, it betters public health control. Research suggests that adult-use cannabis laws have not led to increased substance abuse among teens, and have even seen reductions in alcohol and e-cigarette use.

Ongoing Stigma And Political Backdrop

Despite the DEA’s decision, the debate over marijuana’s legal status and its social implications continues. SAM criticizes the Biden administration’s approach to cannabis regulation, while proponents like Rep. Earl Blumenauer argue that the original Schedule I classification was more about stigma than science. This reclassification might not end the “War on Drugs” or erase the enduring stigma around cannabis use, but it represents a significant policy shift.

The ultimate argument for legalization is that cannabis consumption is independent of cannabis’s legal status, which is a reality that one cannot sweep under the carpet. So, if concerns around cooperative cannabis are raised, prohibition only condemns users to freedom restrictions, helps the illegal market and prevents science from advancing new medical treatments, among a plethora of negative consequences

Pro tip: Learn all about the future of the cannabis industry at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference this October in Chicago. Hear directly from key industry players and policymakers. Get your tickets now by following this link, and access a 20% discount using the code JAVI20.

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsLegalMarketsCannabisDEAlegalreschedulingSmart Approaches to Marijuana
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