Why A Schedule II Ruling On Cannabis Could Be A Blow To The Cannabis Industry
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 06/30/2016 in Medical Marijuana
On July 1st of this year (2016), the DEA and the FDA will announce whether or not they will de-schedule marijuana or keep it in the same Scheduling as it is. The problem with this however, is that there could be potential pitfalls for the industry depending on the ruling.
Currently, marijuana is a Schedule I substance, which according to the federal government means it has “no medical value and a high potential for abuse”. It’s obvious that this scheduling doesn’t fit in the cannabis profile as millions around the country and the world use cannabis for medical reasons. Furthermore, the potential for abuse is also exaggerated as 30 million Americans consume cannabis regularly and the side-effects of abuse has not been noted.
Nonetheless, we’ll take a look at what could happen if the DEA decides to de-schedule cannabis into the Schedule II category, alongside OxyContin and Adderall.
What would happen under a Schedule II ruling?
For those who don’t understand the classifications under the Controlled Substance Act, Schedule II means that the drugs are “permitted” but can’t be sold by anyone. It’s still controlled. If Cannabis were to be de-scheduled to this category, the industry as a whole could suffer.
This is because Schedule-II drugs have many laws in place that require companies to have FDA approved facilities, procedures and testing. If a company claims that cannabis treats a specific condition, yet the FDA deems it not to be true, the company would be subjected to “criminal misbranding” meaning that the heads of the company could be facing jail time and heavy fines.
If a company’s facilities are not “on par” with the FDA regulations, it would mean that they would be charged for “Adulterated Drugs” or impure and unfit for public consumption. To have the facilities “on par” with FDA regulations would be costly, extensive and most current marijuana businesses would not be able to comply, effectively shutting them down.
For the big pharmaceutical companies, Schedule II would be a dream come true since they would effectively be able to monopolize the industry and weed out their competition.
For this reason, a Schedule II categorization would be a devastating blow to the current cannabis industry that are run by independent entrepreneurs.
What should happen with Cannabis?
Substances like Alcohol and Tobacco are not classified under the Controlled Substance Act. These substances are regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire Arms and have a lot less scrutiny in terms of production, sale and distribution.
Most cannabis companies today would be able to continue running their businesses if cannabis were regulated by the above mentioned agency. Seeing that cannabis is 127 times less lethal than alcohol, it would be the best case scenario for the industry to be completely removed from the CSA.
People like Steve DeAngelo isn’t too worried about what could happen. When asked what would happen if the government suddenly did a 180º on the entire cannabis industry, he responded, “We’ll take to the hills, like we always have,” said DeAngelo, explaining that farmers in northern California have been growing in the isolated foothills of the Emerald Triangle since the 1960s. “It’s a plant and it can grow anywhere. The only way they can take it away from us is if we give it to them.”