This June 26, 2013, photo shows a flowering legal medical cannabis plant grown by licensed patient Jennifer Solasat her home in Henderson, Nev. Nevada is on course to become the 13th state to allow medical marijuana dispensaries. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jason Bean)

Rescheduling marijuana: These pot industry execs envision a kinder, more relaxed weed future

If the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, the effects could be wide-reaching, two industry executives tell Cannabist editor-in-chief Ricardo Baca on The Cannabist Show.

Scott Thorn, chief operating officer of dispensary enterprise The Clinic, says he hasn’t yet quantified the potential effects on his business, but is curious as to what such a move could mean to operations in legalized states as well as research.

“It’s kind of a dart-throwing exercise as far as what the actual impacts mean to the pursuits that we have in different places,” Thorn says. “But obviously, it’s huge.”

Hugh Hempel, chief executive officer of consulting business Strainz, said he’s particularly interested in the future of cannabis research. Hempel and his wife, who are forming the nonprofit PeopleCann to support human clinical research in cannabis, became advocates in the field when seeking medical treatments for their twin daughters who have Niemann-Pick Type C disease, a rare and fatal genetic disorder often called childhood Alzheimer’s.

Outside of research, an upside to rescheduling could include some easing on banking regulations, Hempel says. A downside: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could become heavy-handed, he adds.

“Some of the devices we use … fall into that category,” he says. “If the bar were raised by the FDA to meet similar pharma or some of the nutraceutical standards, the industry would have to retrench
and spend a lot more money, and (it) could hurt us.”

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