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Anti-Cannabis Group Prepares Legal Challenge to DEA’s Cannabis Rescheduling

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Just days after reports suggested that the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will support recommendations to reschedule cannabis, anti-reform groups have launched campaigns aimed at stopping it in its tracks.

Prominent anti-cannabis group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), helmed by former White House drug policy advisor to Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton, Kevin Sabat, has announced plans to ‘to challenge any final rescheduling decision in court’.

Sabat argued in a press release this week that ‘politics and industry influence have loomed over this decision from the very beginning’, and that a ‘drug isn’t medicine because it is popular’.

With the Biden administration now set to initiative a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), a public comment period of 60 days which will take place before a final ruling on rescheduling proposals is made, SAM has started a fundraising campaign to launch legal action against the initiative.

“If the administration decides to move marijuana to Schedule III, then SAM is prepared to pursue legal action.”

A new page asking for donations has now been created, urging supporters to give single or recurring amounts ranging from $250 to $5000.

“SAM is proud to announce the creation of a new fund for our community of supporters. Our new Rescheduling Legal Defense Fund will be used to support our challenges of marijuana laws and regulations, specifically marijuana’s Schedule III recommendation.”

While the Justice Department confirmed earlier this week that the Attorney General had indeed circulared a proposal to reclassify cannabis to a Schedule III drug, as leaked reports suggested, the White House is yet to officially confirm this.

The news sent cannabis stocks flying this week, and the industry has hailed potential rescheduling as a seismic shift for the industry at large.

However, others have begun to raise questions about what the move would mean for businesses in the short term.

Mitchell Chargo, partner at US law firm Hinshaw and Culbertson, suggested that rescheduling ‘creates an additional disconnect between federal and state laws’.

He went on to highlight the fact that it remains unclear whether rescheduling would prohibit cannabis from being sold in dispensaries across the country, and that it fails to address other issues like access to banking, insurance and transportation.

 



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