News From the Medical Cannabis Field – September 2016
As you may have heard, in August the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denied a fourth petition to remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The move was not surprising given the agency’s prior refusals to reschedule. And it may have been a blessing, since simply moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II would change nothing about the legality of existing, state-legal medical cannabis dispensaries, nor would it have made it easier for businesses serving patients to obtain legal banking accounts.
At the same time, however, DEA cracked open the monopoly on producing research-grade cannabis for U.S. scientists to study. Previously, only one stringently-regulated cultivation site at the University of Mississippi had produced the cannabis used in U.S. research. The new standards open the doors for new producers to grow cannabis (albeit under stringent security and other regulations), potentially spurring the development of new cannabis-derived medicines for the U.S.