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Colorado dispensary and doctor discuss concerns surrounding move to reclassify marijuana

While small business owner worries about corporations entering the cannabis industry, local doctor believes the reclassification means all marijuana would be considered medical.
Denver dispensary and doctor discuss concerns surrounding move to reclassify marijuana
Posted at 4:27 PM, May 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 13:25:51-04

DENVER — Following The Associated Press report that the DEA will move to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug, certain concerns have arisen in Colorado about what the change could mean.

The proposal would not federally legalize marijuana.

Austin Martinson is the owner of Karmaceuticals, which prides itself on being a small business.

“It's kind of, one of the best things that could have happened, is making it a Schedule III because that makes it a little bit easier. It may not open up banking, it might open up banking, we'll see if the SAFER Banking Act actually passes," said Martinson.

However, Martinson is concerned the reclassification would open up the cannabis industry to large corporations.

“It's just going to be sad if we see another industry turn into the Big Five, corporate giant takeover. Whereas this one, we've still got, almost everyone's local and small. Almost every owner is local and small in cannabis in every state, which is a beautiful thing. So I guess, we'll see how it goes. It's too early to tell right now," said Martinson.



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Martinson believes the reclassification could be a stepping stone to federal legalization of cannabis.

“Full legalization, with no regulations, is going to be bad for local businesses," said Martinson, who acknowledged it would be beneficial to have the ability to sell products across state lines.

Dr. John Williams, who is board-certified in preventive medicine and the occupational medicine specialty, believes the new classification for marijuana would force it into the medical realm. A Schedule III classification would recognize the medical uses of cannabis.

“I don't see how any marijuana, if this goes through, won't be classified as medical now. And I don't think that was necessarily the intent," said Williams. “There is a misconception that physicians in Colorado already prescribe marijuana. What they can do is give a person an endorsement for a medical marijuana card, but that's not the same thing as a prescription.”

Williams worries the move could hurt recreational marijuana sales in Colorado.

Colorado dispensary and doctor discuss concerns surrounding move to reclassify marijuana

“The tax revenue, whether you're for or against medical marijuana or any recreational, it does benefit the state," said Williams. “I think physicians are going to be hesitant to write prescriptions. I think malpractice insurance companies may step back and say, 'Look, I'm not going to cover you for writing a prescription for that.' And pharmacies may say, 'Look, maybe we don't want to handle a drug like that.'"

Ultimately, Williams said it would be much easier to understand from a medical point of view if marijuana were fully legalized, or kept as a Schedule I drug.

The proposal is not finalized at this point, and would still need to pass through the White House Office of Management and Budget and DEA public comment. Then, according to the AP, an administrative judge would need to review it.

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