Enemies of Weed Legalization Are Already Raising Money To Challenge Federal Rescheduling Effort

High Times
Mon, May 6
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Last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) shared that marijuana would be rescheduled from a Schedule I, meaning that the plant was classified as a substance with no accepted medical value, such as heroin, to a Schedule III, controlled substances that allow for some medical use, such as ketamine. While cannabis advocates, stoners, and anyone with the ability to reason welcomed this news (although it fell short of actually declassifying or legalizing it), just a day following the DEA announcement, a prominent group opposed to cannabis legalization already sent out an email to its supporters soliciting funds to combat the policy change.

“SAM will oppose this change at every level, including, if necessary, pursuing legal action,” the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana shared in the email sent out on Wednesday, which asked, of course, for money. 

The email came with a link to what SAM crowned a “Rescheduling Legal Defense Fund,” which seeks either one-time (or you can make that recurring, of course), monthly donations ranging from $250 to $5,000. Think of all the weed you could buy with that money! Loaded anti-cannabis haters also have the option to donate much, much more. 

If you’ve heard of SAM before, it’s because they are very vocal about what they perceive as the dangers of marijuana. The landing page on their website shares that they’re apparently trying to prevent the “next Big Tobacco,” which is just plain silly. As High Times reported, a recent study actually found that tobacco consumption has decreased in states with recreational cannabis legalization. SAM’s “About” section claims to be bipartisan and then links out to The Drudge Report. 

“Our new Rescheduling Legal Defense Fund will be used to support our challenges of marijuana laws and regulations, specifically marijuana’s Schedule III recommendation,” reads the donation page.

“Let’s be clear: this does not mean marijuana is legalized—it will remain federally illegal,” the email reads (yes, unfortunately, they are right about this). “But, if implemented, moving marijuana to Schedule III would give Big Marijuana billions in tax write-offs as well as continue the normalization of high-potency THC drugs. SAM will oppose this change at every level, including, if necessary, pursuing legal action.”

They are absolutely right about the tax write-off; it’s one of the biggest wins regarding the descheduling announcement. As business is set up now, it’s incredibly hard for cannabis companies to turn a profit. The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) anticipates that reclassifying cannabis to Schedule III will alleviate some of the harsh effects of tax code 280E on thousands of state-legal cannabis enterprises. The Legal Intelligencer notes that this change would eliminate the current restrictions on tax deductions that 280E imposes. 

As for the high THC concern, consuming too much THC can be very uncomfortable, and there are high THC products available for those with high tolerances, but this argument is so tiring. Of course, there’s the obvious comparison to liquor, which leads to blackouts and even death in a way that a big edible just doesn’t. But perhaps more importantly, it’s just so easy to use THC responsibly. One of the benefits of legalization is that products can be clearly labeled so one can purchase the acceptable dose for their tolerance and body weight. There may be 100mg gummies available now, but there are also 2.5mg usually on the same shelf. We know from the failed war on drugs that prohibition doesn’t make things better; in fact, we now know that adult-use cannabis laws and sales were not associated with an overall increase in teen substance abuse. Rather, the researchers found modest drops in alcohol and e-cigarette use occurred. One must use cannabis responsibly, especially when it comes to edibles, but we have to leave that up to individuals and assume that grown-ups can take care of themselves. 

SAM’s president, Kevin Sabet, accused the Biden administration of “starting with the decision and working backward to find the supporting materials,” but, in reality, the original decision to classify cannabis as a Schedule I was, as noted by Rep. Earl Blumenauer said in an emailed statement obtained by High Times in our reporting on the descheduling decision, based on stigma rather than science. And, based on the knee-jerk reaction of SAM, a day after the descheduling announcement, we can assume that the modest move to move marijuana to Schedule III will not end this toxic stigma and that the War on Drugs is far from over. 

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