In a recent letter addressed to President Joe Biden, the Marijuana Justice Coalition and Cannabis Freedom Alliance expressed their concerns regarding the administration's plan to federally reschedule cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act.
According to these organizations, such a move would not adequately address the issue of federal criminalization of state-approved medical and adult-use cannabis programs. Instead, they advocate for the full descheduling of cannabis under federal law.
Why does rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III fall short?
The Marijuana Justice Coalition and Cannabis Freedom Alliance argue that rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III would not provide the necessary relief for state-legal cannabis programs. While it may acknowledge some medical value, Schedule III still classifies cannabis as a controlled substance, subjecting it to federal regulation and potential criminalization. This approach would not align with the growing acceptance and legalization of cannabis at the state level.
Furthermore, rescheduling to Schedule III could create additional hurdles for the cannabis industry. It could lead to increased federal oversight, restrictions on research, and limitations on access for patients and consumers. The current state-regulated cannabis marketplace, which operates successfully in 48 states, would face unnecessary complications and potential setbacks.
Why advocate for full descheduling?
The Marijuana Justice Coalition and Cannabis Freedom Alliance firmly believe that full descheduling of cannabis is the most appropriate course of action. By removing cannabis from the list of controlled substances, the federal government would no longer criminalize state-approved medical and adult-use cannabis programs. This approach would respect the will of the states and their constituents, who have chosen to legalize cannabis for various reasons, including medical benefits, economic opportunities, and social justice.
Full descheduling would also allow for more comprehensive research on cannabis. Currently, the Schedule I classification severely limits scientific studies on the potential benefits and risks of cannabis. Descheduling would open the doors to further exploration, enabling researchers to better understand the plant's therapeutic properties and potential applications.
What are the potential benefits of full descheduling?
Advocates for full descheduling argue that it would bring several benefits. First and foremost, it would eliminate the conflict between state and federal laws, providing clarity and consistency for businesses, patients, and consumers. It would also create a more equitable and inclusive cannabis industry by removing barriers to entry and fostering opportunities for individuals disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
Additionally, full descheduling would allow for the implementation of comprehensive federal regulations to ensure product safety, quality control, and responsible consumption. It would enable the establishment of a federal tax framework, generating significant revenue that could be reinvested in public health, education, and other vital areas.
The Marijuana Justice Coalition and Cannabis Freedom Alliance's letter to President Joe Biden highlights the importance of considering full descheduling of cannabis as a solution to the federal-state conflict and the criminalization of state-approved cannabis programs.
By embracing this approach, the federal government can respect the will of the states, promote scientific research, and create a more equitable and regulated cannabis industry. It is a call for a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to cannabis policy that aligns with the evolving attitudes and needs of the American people.