At Long Last, Federal Agency Recommends Rescheduling Cannabis
A few decades ago, radio stations used to bleep out the word “weed” when Nate Dogg sang, “smoke weed every day” at the end of Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode.” In those days, “I Got 5 on It” by Luniz only ever played on the radio in the middle night, despite being on every mixtape traded among drug buddies, and if someone wrote a cannabis-themed email earlier in the day and sent it at precisely 4:20 p.m., it was probably a joke. So much has changed since those heady days of the 90s. Reform of marijuana laws is not just a subject for giggles in a room with dark curtains and lava lamps anymore. Not only do politicians talk about decriminalizing cannabis; sometimes they actually do it. Amidst this sea change in cannabis policies, federal law has been an outlier. You can buy THC oil anywhere in Florida if you have a cannabis card, and you can smoke weed in Orlando as long as you are old enough to buy alcohol. One day last month, an email departed from the outbox of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), of all places, and arrived in the inbox of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) several milliseconds later. It didn’t say, “Dude, I have the munchies,” but given the stark difference between the 4:20 memo and previous correspondence about cannabis by federal agencies, it might as well have. Even if the DEA implements all of the recommendations in the email, it will not make the War on Drugs immediately disappear. Therefore, if you are facing drug charges, you still need to contact a Florida drug offenses attorney.
What the 4:20 Memo Said
According to federal law, cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it is always illegal, whereas the drugs on the other schedules are controlled substances with at least one accepted medical application. The HHS memo recommended rescheduling cannabis by changing it to a Schedule III controlled substance. This would put it in the same legal category as anabolic steroids, suboxone, and ketamine, all of which are well known for their medical uses and also as drugs of abuse.
If cannabis becomes Schedule III, Florida’s medical cannabis program would not change in any way that would affect consumers. The local ordinances decriminalizing possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use also would not change. The biggest changes would affect the owners of cannabis dispensaries. They would become eligible for business tax deductions; they are currently ineligible for these because they sell Schedule I controlled substances. Likewise, if cannabis were Schedule III, dispensaries could apply for the same business loans as other businesses can get. With cannabis as Schedule I, lending to cannabis dispensaries is considered so risky that most lenders will only offer loans with interest rates so high that they would be illegal in any other context.
Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Prescription Drug Cases
A Central Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for drug crimes, even as drug laws are changing. Contact FL Drug Defense Group in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.