Attorney General Phil Weiser today led a group of 12 state attorneys general on a letter encouraging the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III under the federal Controlled Substances Act in the interest of public health and safety.
“Colorado is committed to protecting the integrity of its first-in-the-nation regulated cannabis market,” Weiser said. “We recognize that there are health and safety risks raised by the use of cannabis and we must continue to take them seriously and address them. We also are confident that a well-regulated market for cannabis products best protects consumers, and this action of rescheduling cannabis will better enable that market to function.”
In the letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, the coalition of attorneys general explain that rescheduling cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III will allow the state-regulated cannabis industry to continue to set the standard for legal products and work to eliminate the illicit market and unregulated intoxicating hemp products. Rescheduling will also increase the ability to research cannabis to determine the physical and mental impacts of cannabis use, particularly among youth, and will allow legitimate cannabis businesses to take ordinary tax deductions to expand their investments and focus on public health and safety in collaboration with law enforcements efforts.
“A state-regulated cannabis industry better protects consumers than the illicit marijuana market or the unregulated intoxicating hemp-derived marketplace,” the letter explains. “It is critical to acknowledge that use of cannabis, especially among youth, still incurs health and safety risks. Our regulatory regimes have sought to balance the mandate to create as safe a framework as possible with the reality of these risks. Juxtaposed against the dangers of the illicit market and unregulated hemp-derived cannabinoids, moreover, we believe that there is a public health and safety mandate to protect the state-regulated industry by rescheduling cannabis to schedule III.”
The regulated cannabis marketplace currently brings billions of dollars of revenue into state and federal governments, with predictions that by 2027, retail cannabis sales will exceed $53 billion nationally. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, the cannabis industry in Colorado has generated more than $15 billion in sales since regulated recreational sales began in 2014. The state has collected more than $2.6 billion in marijuana taxes over the same period.
Joining Weiser on the letter are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Rhode Island.