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Rumors of Change to Cannabis Scheduling by DEA En Route:


Cannabis Leave American Flag
The USA, Cannabis & Money Have a Long History.

The Evolution of Cannabis Regulation in America:

The history of cannabis regulation in the United States is a multifaceted story that highlights scientific, legal, and cultural dynamics.


Cannabis was largely unregulated until the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, which criminalized marijuana, leading to increased control and stigma.

  • It took a significant turn with the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which established a drug scheduling system and controversially placed cannabis in Schedule I, indicating:

    • a high potential for abuse,

    • no recognized medical use, and

    • a lack of safety under medical supervision.


This classification has sparked ongoing debates and reflects the changing perceptions of cannabis's effects and medical value.


The DEA scheduling system ranges from Schedule I (highest potential for abuse, no medical use) to Schedule V (lowest abuse potential, accepted medical uses). Cannabis's Schedule I classification has significantly impacted research, medical use, and public perception.


The debate over cannabis's Schedule I classification highlights shifts in societal attitudes and the push for legalization. Despite proposals and research supporting its medical benefits, cannabis remains a Schedule I drug federally, contrasting with state-level legalization movements.



Cannabis Removal from Schedule I Classification:

Over the past 48 hours, several highly credible sources have reported that there will be an upcoming change to Cannabis Scheduling and will soon be removed from Schedule I classification of the Controlled Substances Act.


This represents a monumental shift in the legal landscape for cannabis businesses, particularly in states like here in Michigan where the industry has been flourishing under state-level legalization. This change could have wide-reaching implications across various aspects of business operations, from taxation to international trade.


This Blog Post outlines in detail, how such a change could and will likely impact Michigan businesses within the cannabis industry.


Meeting of the Minds
Deals Will Be Made Regardless of Schedule

Main Areas Likely to Experience Some Type of Change:

  • Federal Tax Treatment under IRC 280E

  • Banking & Financial Services

  • Interstate Commerce

  • Sales & Distribution

  • International Opportunities

  • Legal & Compliance Cost Reduction

  • Insurance & similar services

  • Research & Development


Federal Taxation & IRC 280E:

Currently, Michigan cannabis businesses are hamstrung by IRC 280E, which severely limits their ability to claim business expenses. The removal of cannabis from Schedule I would be a game-changer, potentially slashing taxable income and significantly boosting profitability. This change would align cannabis businesses more closely with the broader business community, acknowledging their legitimacy and importance to the economy.


Banking & Financial Services:

Access to banking and financial services has been a persistent hurdle for cannabis businesses due to the federal classification of cannabis. Descheduling cannabis would likely open the floodgates for these businesses to access essential financial services, from banking accounts to loans and beyond. For Michigan businesses, this means easier capital acquisition for expansion and operation, potentially accelerating growth and innovation in the sector.


Interstate Commerce:

The current federal stance on cannabis restricts Michigan businesses to operating within state lines, limiting their market potential. The removal of cannabis from Schedule I could usher in an era of interstate commerce, allowing businesses to reach a national market. This could dramatically increase revenue opportunities and encourage a more competitive, diverse market offering for consumers.


Sales & Distribution:

Reducing the scheduling of cannabis is expected to lead to more uniform regulations across states and possibly at the federal level, simplifying the operational landscape for businesses. For Michigan businesses, this could mean reduced operational complexities and costs, making it easier to expand into new jurisdictions and streamline existing operations.


International Opportunities:

The international cannabis market is growing, and the removal of cannabis from Schedule I could position Michigan businesses to tap into this burgeoning market. This could open up new revenue streams and partnerships, further diversifying the opportunities available to the state's cannabis industry.


Legal & Compliance Costs:

Navigating the patchwork of state regulations incurs significant costs for cannabis businesses. A change in federal status could lead to more standardized regulations, potentially reducing the legal and compliance burdens on these businesses. For Michigan's cannabis industry, this could mean more resources available for growth and innovation rather than being tied up in regulatory compliance.


Insurance & Other Services:

The normalization of the cannabis industry at the federal level could lead to more competitive pricing and better offerings from insurers and other service providers. Currently, the industry faces high costs and limited choices due to the perceived risk. This change could improve the operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness of Michigan cannabis businesses.


Research & Development:

Finally, the removal of cannabis from Schedule I would likely spur a boom in research and development. With fewer restrictions, businesses could engage more freely in R&D, leading to product innovations, improved cultivation techniques, and a broader offering for consumers. This could solidify Michigan's position as a leader in the cannabis industry, driving economic growth and job creation.


Cannabis Tax Revenue
Tax Revenue from Cannabis Sales

Overall:

The potential removal of cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act could herald a new era for Michigan businesses operating within the cannabis sector. From significantly reduced federal taxation and improved access to banking and financial services to the opening of interstate and international markets, the implications are profound.


Moreover, a reduction in legal and compliance costs, coupled with opportunities for innovation in research and development, could further enhance the competitiveness and profitability of Michigan's cannabis industry.


As the landscape evolves, businesses, consumers, and the state economy stand to benefit from these changes, marking a significant shift in the perception and operation of the cannabis industry on a national and global scale.


HOL will be following this development and providing updates as well as additional guidance for strategic steps businesses should consider should the Schedule I Classification of Cannabis be modified.

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