Cannabis Schedule 3 CSA Reschedule Cannabis Drug Class


WILL CANNABIS GET RESCHEDULED TO A CLASS 3 DRUG IN THE CSA? WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS? Short answer: Nobody really knows. I express a brief overview of my observations and opinions below.

There are a lot of assumptions and fear regarding DOJ possibly rescheduling cannabis to class 3 in the CSA.

The fear is rooted in the fact that our industry hangs on a mere DOJ memo. That's right, a memo has been our only legal stance keeping the DEA away for the last decade. (Cole Memorandum 2013). What's more, is that Jeff Sessions rescinded this memo in 2018. However, the DOJ, and more importantly, State Attorney Generals have largely continued to follow the Cole Memo. 

This is an important aspect to consider, since 21 states are essentially stakeholders in this industry. These States, and eventually the Federal Government will want to keep this revenue going. 

In addition, Cannabis indeed puts lawmakers in a precarious position. How to differentiate, hemp, medicinal and adult use cannabis? I believe this plant (and the cannabis community) have our governments cornered at this point. While nobody really pays attention to hemp laws, other than to use as a disclaimer (case in point), hemp IS federally legal.  

Lawmakers have already shown us the framework at the state level by creating separate categories of laws for hemp, medicinal and adult use cannabis products, based on naturally occurring cannabinoids and concentrations thereof.

With that being said, adult use cannabis should not be in the CSA at all and our community needs to continue to demand nothing less. We should not forget the facts that the illegality of cannabis is still ruining people's lives in certain parts of our country. Even "legalized" states still hold cannabis "criminals" in prisons. 

Medical cannabis will likely continue to be more potent concentrations based around ingestibles, larger quantities, etc. Hemp will continue being treated like a supplement. 

Also, it has been common for medical cannabis to get forgotten every time legalization occurs because it's not as big of a market (another argument against big pharma's reach or desire here). Patients' access to produce their own usually gets impeded some way. And there's not much support in the current legal environment for them.

It is likely:

  • What we are seeing is the Federal Government moving to legalize medical marijuana first. This shouldn't be a surprise because that's what states did (unfortunately, yes, fed's MMJ will be big pharma, not ma' and pa').
  • Adult use will continue business as usual at the state level (advancing).
  • Eventually and separately, cannabis will become legal for all adults in our country.
  • Banking will probably be the next biggest change cannabis has undergone federally since prohibition in 1970. The reason banking is bigger to me even if rescheduling does occur is because it's specifically aimed at aiding our industry. Whereas, rescheduling will benefit our industry as a consequence of IRS code 280e not applying to schedule 3 drugs. Whether it's an intended or unintended consequence doesn't disguise the fact that rescheduling is half stepping.
  • Legalization could happen rapidly once it gets momentum at the federal level. This is because we are at a tipping point on many fronts regarding the issue (I'll elaborate later). 


I found some clarity on my points here from this informative article by @mjbizdaily


This blog was written by Brandon, founder at SOLOUD LLC

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.