Michigan Cannabis Industry, researchers react to proposal that reclassifies Marijuana

Michigan Cannabis Industry, researchers react to proposal that reclassifies Marijuana

Federal regulations that bring extra taxes to marijuana businesses and make it harder to conduct research could soon go up in smoke.

The U.S. Justice Department formally moved to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug alongside heroin and moved it to a Schedule III drug, aligning it with drugs like anabolic steroids. The change is expected to ease the tax burden on marijuana businesses and will go a long way in conducting research and clinical trials.

In his announcement, President Joe Biden focused on how it would keep people out of jail for possession.

“No one should be in jail for using or possessing marijuana, period. Far too many lives have been upended because of a failed approach to marijuana, and I’m committed to righting those wrongs,” Biden said.

The move is expected to reduce the tax burden for businesses by 70 percent. The Michigan Cannabis Industry Association’s Executive Director, Robin Schneider, applauded the change. She said it would make cannabis more profitable.

“The reform is urgent as Michigan’s cannabis market is faced with over saturation and price constriction,” Schneider wrote in a statement.

Michigan State University Professor and cannabis researcher Omayma Alshaarawy said researchers still don’t have answers on the impact of the different forms and ways the drug can be used. However, she said the move will finally bring answers to longstanding questions.

“I strongly believe there are medical uses for cannabis, but then we need to know what’s the least harmful way of using it, and what’s the beneficial way, and who are the patients that are going to benefit from cannabis,” Alshaarawy said.

Alshaarawy researches the impact cannabis has on the heart and body weight and also studies how using cannabis could impact reproduction. She applauds the reclassification and says it’s a step in the right direction.

“We have lots of restrictions on conducting marijuana research or cannabis research as a schedule one drug right now. So, as a researcher I’m really excited, and I’m also excited for the future of cannabis research,” Alshaarawy admitted.

While marijuana businesses and researchers will benefit from the reclassification, there have been some concerns that the move could increase abuse of the drug, especially by young people and those who are pregnant.

Federal regulators began the process of reclassifying the drug last week. Before proposed changes can go into effect, a 60-day comment period followed by a possible administrative judge review is needed.

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Region: Michigan

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