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Proposed federal marijuana changes could reshape the cannabis industry

Cannabis industry expects reclassification of marijuana by Justice Dept. to help business
Cannabis industry expects reclassification of marijuana by Justice Dept. to help business 04:08

SAN FRANCISCO — The move to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency could shake up the cannabis industry.

Blake Wilkins, assistant manager at Solful dispensary in San Francisco, believes that the proposed shift in federal marijuana policy could be a game changer for the industry.

 "What this relaxation is going to do, this rescheduling is going to do is going to allow people to actually tax their business operations," Wilkins explained. "A lot of people don't know is that salaries, supplies are not taxable for cannabis businesses."

Currently, 24 states, including California, have legalized marijuana for recreational use. However, a federal ban has cast a long shadow over the industry as a whole.

The proposed changes, announced by the Justice Department, would alter how marijuana is classified, grouping it with drugs like steroids rather than hard and highly addictive substances like heroin.

"Rescheduling is really going to give more access to the public to be able to talk about cannabis or work with cannabis because right now no one can touch it," Wilkins noted. "And with the rescheduling, then the FDIC could start, you know, approving credit cards because everyone is trying to find ways to be able to access cannabis, and because it's schedule it's making it difficult."

In addition to potentially unlocking research opportunities on its medicinal value, loosening federal restrictions on marijuana could have significant implications for businesses and consumers.

David Goldman, president of the Brownie Mary Democratic Club, emphasized the medical benefits of cannabis.

"That means it's been established that cannabis has medical value," Goldman stated. "In fact, in the AP report it mentioned that the government has mentioned that there are at least fifteen medical conditions for which cannabis is extremely helpful medically."

However, it's important to note that marijuana would remain illegal on the federal level even if the proposed changes were to take effect.

While some view the shift as beneficial for businesses, concerns remain about how it would impact state-run cannabis programs.

"People have mixed feelings," Goldman explained. "They want to know whether the federal government would respect the robust and well-run regulated adult medical use cannabis programs throughout the country like in California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts. Would they let us continue so people would allow to get their prescriptions filled under schedule III from a cannabis dispensary such as Solful or Green Cross. there are issues that have to be worked out."

Despite the potential for increased competition, Wilkins remains optimistic about the future of the cannabis industry.

"For it to get to grocery stores, there has to be this whole process of an operation," Wilkins explained. "Right now, grocery stores don't even know what to do with cannabis or even managing CBD or something like that."

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