In a progressive move, Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown has rallied with a group of 12 Attorneys General (including Pennsylvania’s Michelle Henry), urging the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to reclassify cannabis under federal law. This initiative aims to shift cannabis to Schedule III from its current Schedule I status in the federal Controlled Substances Act, highlighting a significant shift towards recognizing the substance’s potential benefits in public health and safety.
The collective appeal, directed to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, is grounded in the scientific and medical assessments conducted by the Food and Drug Administration. This proposed rescheduling is not merely a bureaucratic shift; it paves the way for the burgeoning state-regulated cannabis industry to establish legal, consumer-protective standards. Furthermore, it’s a strategic move to dismantle the illegal cannabis market and curb the spread of unregulated intoxicating hemp products.
A critical aspect of this rescheduling would be its impact on research. It seeks to deepen our understanding of cannabis’s physical and mental effects, with a keen focus on its implications for youth. Additionally, the change would grant legitimate cannabis businesses the much-needed financial breather to claim tax deductions. This financial leverage is expected to fuel investments, fostering a closer alliance between these businesses, public health, and law enforcement sectors.
The economic implications are substantial. The regulated cannabis market is a financial powerhouse, funneling billions into state and federal coffers. Projections indicate that by 2027, retail cannabis sales could surpass the $53 billion mark nationwide. Maryland’s cannabis industry alone has shown impressive growth, with nearly $800 million generated in medical and adult-use sales in 2023. The State has reaped over $12 million in tax revenue from adult-use cannabis in the first quarter following its legalization.
By endorsing this letter, Attorney General Brown aligns with his counterparts in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Rhode Island.