Anti-Cannabis Group Gears Up Against Federal Rescheduling Effort

Following the recent announcement from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) about the rescheduling of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III, which allows for some medical use, a prominent anti-cannabis group wasted no time mobilizing opposition. Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) swiftly sent out an email soliciting funds from supporters to challenge the policy change.

The email, circulated just a day after the DEA’s announcement, outlined SAM’s intention to oppose the rescheduling at every level, potentially including legal action. The group introduced a “Rescheduling Legal Defense Fund,” urging supporters to contribute either one-time or recurring donations ranging from $250 to $5,000, with options for larger donations.

SAM, known for its vocal opposition to cannabis legalization, has often emphasized perceived risks associated with marijuana use. Their fundraising efforts target individuals concerned about what they perceive as the normalization of high-potency THC drugs and potential tax advantages for the cannabis industry.

While SAM’s stance highlights concerns about the potential consequences of rescheduling, such as tax deductions for cannabis businesses, it fails to acknowledge the benefits. Rescheduling cannabis could alleviate tax burdens for state-legal cannabis enterprises, according to the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). This change would eliminate current restrictions on tax deductions imposed by tax code 280E.

SAM’s arguments against high THC products overlook the role of responsible consumption and clear product labeling, which are benefits of legalization. Research indicates that adult-use cannabis laws have not led to an overall increase in teen substance abuse, with some reductions observed in alcohol and e-cigarette use.

Despite SAM’s opposition, the move to reschedule cannabis reflects a shift away from stigma-driven policies. Rep. Earl Blumenauer noted that the original Schedule I classification was based on stigma rather than science. However, SAM’s swift response underscores the ongoing challenges in changing perceptions and policies surrounding cannabis.


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