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May 21, 2024 4 Comments

Rescheduling Marijuana: What it Means for Louisiana

Marijuana is on track to be rescheduled from Schedule 1 to Schedule III on the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) controlled substances list. But what will that mean for medical marijuana patients in Louisiana? In this article, we’ll define the list and how rescheduling might affect marijuana patients and businesses in Louisiana.

The History of Marijuana and the DEA

Marijuana (including all cannabis other than hemp and its derivatives, seeds incapable of germination, and stalks of the plant) has been classified as a Schedule I drug since Congress enacted the CSA in 1970. Since then, it’s remained on the list as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. As states began to legalize marijuana and the research that has revealed its medicinal properties, it became apparent that marijuana had medicinal properties and it’s placement on the list wasn’t accurate.

On Oct. 6, 2022, President Joe Biden asked the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to launch a scientific review of how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. In April, the DEA made a historic decision—agreeing with the top federal health agency and proposing to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the Justice Department confirmed.

For the first time since marijuana was effectively outlawed in the 1930s, the federal government has acknowledged that marijuana has a currently accepted medical use.

What is the list of controlled substances?

The DEA, a federal agency, uses the list of controlled substances to categorize drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs into five distinct classes or schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential. The following is taken from the DEA website, where it defines each category. This list is according to current policy and does not reflect the upcoming rescheduling of marijuana.

Schedule I drugs, substances or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.

Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are: combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin

Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs but more than Schedule IV. Some examples of Schedule III drugs are: products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone

Schedule IV drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are: Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, Tramadol

Schedule V drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. Some examples of Schedule V drugs are: cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin

What will Change once Marijuana is Rescheduled?

Rescheduling marijuana won’t make it legal for recreational use or even allow for decriminalization on a federal level. Marijuana would still be a controlled substance, subject to federal rules and regulations. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, would remain legal within the state with a recommendation from a licensed Louisiana physician, regardless of the change in classification.

What it will do is open doors for more research without fear of litigation because it’s easier to research Schedule I drugs versus Schedule III drugs. And, if marijuana is moved to Schedule III, IV, or V, Internal Revenue Code 280E would no longer apply to marijuana businesses, resulting in a much lower effective tax rate for businesses across the industry.

Additionally, more ancillary service providers, such as banks, insurance companies, payment processors, and others, could decide to enter or increase their footprint in the marijuana industry. Rescheduling may also encourage lawmakers to go ahead and pass pending federal marijuana laws like the Safe Banking Act.

Submitting Comments

The Proposed Rule will be published on May 21, 2024. Once that occurs, the notice and comment period will open. Interested parties, including those currently involved in the cannabis industry as well as the many industries that cannabis rescheduling will affect, should start considering now whether they wish to submit a comment and request a hearing at which to speak and present a comment. Assuming that the Proposed Rule is published on May 21, a hearing request must be submitted by June 20 and comments must be submitted by July 20.

Comments must be submitted either electronically or postmarked by the deadline. All comments should reference Docket No. DEA 1362. Instructions on submitting public comments are available at http://www.regulations.gov. Paper comments and requests for hearings can be sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: DEA Federal Register Representative/DPW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152. A courtesy copy of any hearing request should be sent to (1) Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: Hearing Clerk/OALJ, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152; and (2) Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: DEA Federal Register Representative/DPW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152.

Comments submitted will be part of the public record. Comments can be marked as confidential, which may prevent public disclosure subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Comments may also be submitted anonymously. Requests for hearings must include a written statement of position on the matters of fact and law asserted in the hearing.

Summary

1) Recreational marijuana will still be ILLEGAL in Louisiana.

2) Medical marijuana will still be LEGAL in Louisiana.

3) Hemp will still fall under the Farm Bill and the DEA will have no jurisdiction over it.

4) Once marijuana is listed as Schedule III, research should grow due to less risk of litigation.

5) Banking, taxes, and doing business in the cannabis industry will be easier and less risky for business owners.

If you’re interested in medical marijuana and would like to find out more, please contact The Healing Clinics to start your healing journey. Regardless of rescheduling on a federal level, your access to medical marijuana won’t change. Click the button to find out more or call The Healing Clinics at (318) 227-4088.

4 Comments

Reply
Cody
May 21, 2024

Will I be able to join the local volunteer fire department while consuming cannabis and having a medical recommendation?

    Reply
    admin
    May 21, 2024

    Firefighters are considered a safety sensitive job. Recreational marijuana is a definite no, use of any kind of marijuana while on duty is a definite no, and medical marijuana is a no for some fire houses that receive federal funds. However, if you have a real medical condition that you’re treating with medical marijuana and have a recommendation from a licensed physician, some fire houses are making allowances when it’s used responsibly while off duty. Please call The Healing Clinics at (318) 227-4088 to discuss your options and talk to your fire chief or supervisor about their policies on medical marijuana.

Reply
Donna Pardue
May 21, 2024

Thanks very much for keeping me formed of the latest news. Medical marijuana has become. a large part of my pain management. I was able to wean myself off of Oxycodone and I am so grateful!

    Reply
    admin
    May 21, 2024

    Hi Donna, That’s great! We love to hear about patient success!

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