Health officials are recommending the Drug Enforcement Administration lower the restrictions around cannabis
A move like that would reclassify how harmful the drug is compared to others. Currently, the plant is ranked in the same risk class as heroin, LSD and ecstasy.
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - “What we’ve created is a very significant amount of conflict between the federal government’s position on cannabis and where the states have evolved and developed,” said David Mangone, Director of Policy for the National Cannabis roundtable.
The Biden administration has asked that marijuana be lowered from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III. Currently marijuana is listed as a schedule I drug which means it has a high potential for abuse and no medical use.
Mangone, who’s been in the cannabis industry for nearly a decade said the plant was never intended to be labeled as harmful.
“There’s a group of senators and congressman called the Shafer commission, put in place by President Nixon, said Mangone. “This commission recommended cannabis not be classified on any of the drug schedules at all. This was ignored by Nixon and started the modern war on drugs.”
Conviction on the federal level, for selling 1 ton or 2,000 pounds of cannabis can put you behind bars for up to 10 years or life.
“What you’ve seen is decades of incarceration, particularly of minorities and the birth of a cannabis industry that lives in a legal grey area,” said Mangone.
Reclassifying cannabis will also save those in the cannabis industry, millions in taxes every year.
“It eliminates a tax code provision called 280 E. 280 E was passed in the 1980′s in response to a drug lord deducting a lot of hotels, yachts and a lot of unnecessary expenses on his federal tax return,” said Mangone. “Congress responded with this tax provision saying that you can’t deduct standard business deductions if you’re trafficking in a schedule I or schedule II controlled substance.”
Mangone says he’s in full support of cannabis reform but not everyone shares those feelings - some even say it’s an irresponsible move by Biden to attract younger voters.
“I have a concern that this is now a political issue,” said Scott Chipman, Vice President of Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana. “This is pandering to younger adults to get them to come out and vote for the Biden administration. Joe Biden has never been in favor of legalizing any drugs.”
Chipman is joined by Kevin Sabet, President and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, in his thoughts on reclassifying how marijuana is labeled.
“Todays marijuana is not your Woodstock weed,” said Sabet. “It’s much more addictive then in the past. 30% of the people who use it are addicted because it’s so potent.”
“The term marijuana is thousands and thousands of products – any product containing THC. Unless those products are approved by the food and drug administration, I don’t see how they can become a schedule 3 drug,” he said.
Sabet pointing out that this is not the first time the drug has come into question.
“The Obama Administration looked at this on their way out in 2016, said Sabet. “They very easily could have rescheduled it. The Trump administration was coming in and is a totally different party and they didn’t do that.”
“If they didn’t do it in 2016, we haven’t learned some magic new thing that makes marijuana harmless in the last 7 years. If anything, we’ve learned that it’s gotten more harmful,” he said.
After a year of review the Biden Administration is standing tall on their stance to have the plant classified as a less harmful drug. However, it’s the DEA that has the final say.
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