Yo, listen up! If the DEA decides to reschedule weed to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), it’s gonna have major implications not only at the federal level, but also for states. You feel me?
So check it, there’s something called “trigger laws” in most states. Basically, if the federal status of marijuana changes, either automatically or through a process, it’s gonna trigger a response from the states. This response could lead to changes in politics, criminal justice, medical marijuana, and more.
Now, here’s how it breaks down. In more than half of the states, a federal scheduling change automatically means a state-level rescheduling. In other states, the feds gotta reschedule first and then the state legislature or some authority gotta take further action. And there are about 10 states that don’t really care about the federal status when making their own scheduling decisions.
This info comes from Shawn Hauser, an attorney who knows her stuff when it comes to cannabis law. She says that most states have procedures in place that automatically kick in when the feds change the schedule. Basically, the states gotta control the substance according to their own laws unless they object.
For example, in Texas, if marijuana gets rescheduled federally, the Department of State Health Services has 30 days to do the same unless they don’t wanna. And this could mean more access to high-THC medical marijuana for Texans, you dig?
In states where marijuana is currently illegal but has automatic trigger laws, like Idaho for instance, rescheduling would open up a path for medical marijuana in certain cases. So that’s something to think about.
Now, in states without automatic rescheduling processes, like Kansas for example, they gotta go through their state legislature or some other authority to make any changes to the scheduling. It’s a whole process, man.
We saw similar state-level rescheduling happen when the FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution, in 2018. After that, GW Pharmaceuticals (now Jazz Pharmaceuticals) had to go state by state to make sure they all rescheduled CBD. It’s a whole thing, you know?
But then you got some states, like Virginia, where it’s up to the regulators. They may amend the rules to match the federal scheduling changes, but they don’t have to. It’s optional, man.
Now, let’s talk about what all this rescheduling could mean for the people. It’s gonna vary from state to state depending on how they currently handle marijuana. If a state already has legal medical or adult-use cannabis, not much is gonna change, according to Hauser. They already regulate it less restrictively than federal law and they ain’t gonna turn back the clock.
But in states where there’s no legal weed at all, rescheduling could lead to limited access for medical patients once FDA-approved cannabis medicines become available. But that process takes time and money, man. We’re talking years and millions of dollars in research and fees.
Rescheduling could also have a political impact, changing the conversation around weed among doctors, elected officials, law enforcement, and everyone else. The fact that it would be Schedule III means it’s recognized as having medical use and a lower potential for abuse. That’s gonna make a big difference in how people view it, man.
And it don’t stop there! Rescheduling could also change how law enforcement handles cannabis cases. Even though most marijuana crimes are based on volume and not the schedule, prosecutors and judges might take the lower schedule into consideration when dealing with these cases.
Plus, with all these changes happening, there could be more pressure on governors to pardon people with past weed convictions. When Biden announced the rescheduling recommendation, he also pardoned some federal prisoners and told state governors to do the same. So there’s an opportunity there, man.
But hold up, not everyone is on board with this rescheduling idea. Rep. Pete Sessions from Texas, for example, wants to block the Biden administration from doing anything with weed. He filed a legislative amendment to prevent federal funds from being used to reschedule marijuana. And he’s got some GOP lawmakers backing him up.
But there are also lawmakers from both parties who support the rescheduling recommendation. They see it as a step towards federal legalization and they’re taking credit for it, man.
So, in conclusion, if marijuana gets rescheduled federally, it’s gonna have a ripple effect on the states. Some states will automatically follow suit, others will have to take action, and a few don’t really care about the federal status. It’s gonna change the conversation, impact medical access and law enforcement, and maybe even lead to pardons for past convictions.
And that’s all I got for you today, my friends. Stay lit!