Cannabis Rescheduling is Here: What We Know & Don’t Know Now

Monumental Changes To Cannabis Ahead

April 30, 2024 is going to be remembered by many in the cannabis industry as one of, if not the, most consequential day in American cannabis business history. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that it will reschedule cannabis from a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act to a Schedule III substance. This dramatic shift in over 50-years of policy precedent comes on the heels of the August 2023 recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to do so and pressure from both President Joe Biden and the Department of Justice to address the current federal status of cannabis.


What Does Rescheduling Mean Right Now?

Moving cannabis from a Schedule I substance to a Schedule III substance indicates that the DEA is now acknowledging what we in the industry have long known; cannabis has medical value and has a low potential for abuse.


This is Not the Finish Line For Future Cannabis

Work and progress are not finished. Rescheduling will not have an immediate impact and there are still additional steps to be taken. This includes a nationwide public comment period followed by a final rule from the Administration. There will also be a review and approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget. Biden had pledged on the 2020 campaign trail that he would reschedule cannabis, and as the 2024 election ramps up, this rollout shows a keen eye towards ironing out some of the complex details associated with rescheduling a substance as prevalent as cannabis just in time to be fresh in the voters’ minds in November.


How Will Rescheduling Affect the Cannabis Industry?

While many of us in the industry would have preferred descheduling as opposed to rescheduling—a key distinction as descheduling would have regulated cannabis more in line with alcohol as opposed to other Schedule I substances such as ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone—the ramifications of this decision cannot be understated. 

What will likely happen is that states with their own medical and adult-use markets will continue to operate; states with adult-use markets will still technically be ahead of the federal government’s position. But, more states without statewide medical markets will see an influx of interest and pressure to create their own regulated markets. Some states, such as Texas, do have legislation which will require they adjust state laws accordingly and set up a program in a specific period of time.

Additionally, rescheduling will allow individuals and businesses nationwide greater access to cannabis and cannabis products (including access to medical cannabis for veterans potentially through the Department of Veterans Affairs), ease of interstate transportation and greater access to capital and investments, and more.


What Rescheduling Means For Cannabis Businesses & Entrepreneurs

There’s still a lot to be determined, but today is a day that should be acknowledge as a historic step forward with still plenty more to be done. If you’ve been thinking about getting into the industry, now is the time to invest as rescheduling is slated to kick off the cannabis renaissance – and you don’t want to be behind. 

Contact our cannabis consultants to start exploring what rescheduling could mean for your future in cannabis or Book a Consultation to get immediate help with your cannabis business in motion.

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