Alright, fellow grown-ups who enjoy a little relaxation with some recreational marijuana or find relief with medical cannabis products, it’s time to tune into the latest marijuana moment news coming straight out of the U.S. You see, the Democrats are pushing for a legalization bill that could have major implications on the justice system by 2024. They’re aiming to regulate the marijuana industry, provide support for a federal marijuana law, and address the criminal justice reform that’s long overdue. On the other side, the Republicans are still a bit hesitant about legal marijuana but are beginning to see the light when it comes to the financial impact of marijuana sales. So, whether you’re an adult looking to unwind or a medical patient seeking relief, keep an eye on the political panel and get ready for some interesting times ahead.


One thing to keep in mind is the ongoing struggle with marijuana banking that’s been holding back the industry. The restrictions on banking have been a real buzzkill for companies trying to navigate the retail side of things. Additionally, the issues with the criminal justice system need to be addressed to ensure fair treatment for those involved in marijuana enforcement. It’s not just about the consumption of weed anymore; it’s about creating a fair and just system for all involved. The democratic majority is working hard to garner support for a federal marijuana law, but they’ll need to navigate the GOP and the concerns of Republican lawmakers who are still on the fence about full legalization.


Puff, puff, pass back in time to see how this all started



Hi, my name is Chirali Patel with Blaze Responsibly and I’m a proud partner of Ascend’s Co-Lab for Social Equity. Today we’re going to talk about the history of cannabis: how we got here, and why the plant is currently deemed illegal and criminal. Then we’re going to go over what the rescheduling of cannabis might look like. I may say marijuana, and that’s only because our federal government has decided to call cannabis “marijuana.”


Why is Marijuana, or Cannabis, a Schedule I drug?


When colonizers first came to the United States, and we’re strictly focusing on just the history of the United States, but when they first came here, early 16th century, 17th century, the production of hemp for cannabis was widely encouraged.


They were using it for clothing.


They were using it for rope, sails, and even for medicinal reasons.


And there were patented medicines out on the market, believe it or not.


But then something happened.


1910: The Mexican Revolution


In 1910, the Mexican Revolution happened, and we started to see immigrants coming into the country who were introducing the plant for recreational purposes. There was an underlying fear that with the influx of immigrants, such as potentially the increase of violence or crime, that the government associated marijuana or cannabis to be a correlating factor, and the government decided that cannabis was no longer a benefit anymore, and they wanted to criminalize it.


And so it started.


1930s: Reefer Madness


1930s: The Great Depression is happening. We were in a Great Depression, things are going to happen, right? Crimes are going to go up. People are going to do bad acts. So now the government is saying, well, great, the people who are doing bad acts are people of color who are using marijuana or cannabis.


So again, fearmongering.


Reefer Madness came out in the 1930s, which was a propaganda film that showed “this is what happens when you utilize marijuana and you go crazy and all these negative things,” and instilled fear in people.


Something to note is that alcohol was no longer prohibited during this time. The 1920s, the decade prior, was THE era of prohibition. Now, in the 1930s, alcohol is freely available


again. So, a gentleman named Henry Anslinger decided to form the Bureau of Federal Narcotics. And their main priority was to go after various drugs, but particularly marijuana or cannabis. And with the creation of the Bureau of Federal Narcotics, we started to see the policing of cannabis.
Shortly thereafter, in 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed. This in essence criminalized the plant because now there were penalties associated with even possessing this plant. But when World War Two happened, there was a change in the tone of the plant, because now the Department of Agriculture was encouraging farmers again to grow hemp. The government created a whole campaign for American farmers that said, “We need you to grow hemp,” because they needed to make products for the military, like parachutes, for example, which can be made from hemp fiber. So, you have this other resurgence of positive things happening surrounding the plant. Once the war ended, though, the tone obviously went back to negative.


1960s: It’s just weed, man


Then again, in the 1960s, you had another pop culture moment where people were using the plant and things were going well. Jazz musicians had publicly started to normalize using the plant as well.


Utilization was constantly being associated with people of color using the plant, which perpetuated underlying racism tones and negative fear tactics, because what started in the 1910s continued in the 1930s, and beyond.


1970s: The Controlled Substances Act


Enter the era of the Richard Nixon presidency. Simultaneous to the Nixon presidency was the Shafer Commission; This group basically put a report together that said that marijuana actually has medicinal value. They had hundreds of pages of detailed information that proved the plant had many benefits.


Nixon literally threw it in the trash and was like, you know, I’m not going to do anything with this and ignored it.


The Controlled Substances Act was enacted in 1970, and marijuana was placed on a Schedule I, and it was treated as a drug, how it is today at the federal level.


Then those fear-based ideas that turned into policies continued to be perpetuated when Reagan took office and there was a whole anti-war campaign where mandatory minimums were enacted, for even possession of cannabis or marijuana.


So really, how we got here today is a history of some really bad policies against people of color for utilizing the plant for recreational purposes, and just a ton of fearmongering.


—- Now that you understand how we got here, let’s talk about one of the ways we can move forward.





As of today, the federal government has placed cannabis or marijuana on Schedule I due to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.


As Schedule I drug, it means that it has a high potential for abuse and no medicinal value, which we know is not the case. So, what does rescheduling mean and what is it going to do? Rescheduling means the government will move cannabis, or marijuana, from a Schedule I down, ideally, to a Schedule III. The biggest implication for cannabis businesses in general is that this will alleviate the IRS code 280E. Under a Schedule III, companies could take business deductions like any ordinary business would, which would effectively lower their tax rate. If marijuana remains on Schedule I or is moved to Schedule II that wouldn’t be the case. So


rescheduling really does open up opportunities for the market from a business perspective. As a consumer, I think at the bare minimum, rescheduling removes the stigma around the plant because moving it down to a Schedule III means that it does have medicinal value and it doesn’t have a high potential for abuse.


More importantly, for the medicinal side, moving cannabis down to a Schedule III would allow companies to do more research on the medicinal values of the plant. Pharmaceutical companies and other drug manufacturers would start to explore cannabinoids that are found within the plant, and they could develop and create products that have these cannabinoids for sale once they get approved through the FDA process.


While rescheduling to a Schedule III doesn’t legalize the plant, it will permit FDA-approved products that contain cannabinoids to be legal. Essentially, you could go to a doctor and get prescribed for those new-to-market products.


We don’t get the changes that we need at a federal level until we get descheduling, but rescheduling is a step in the right direction.


Hopefully, better days are ahead!