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Sean Mack Quoted in NJBIZ Article, “Marijuana Reclassification Could Clear Hurdles for NJ Businesses”


Sean Mack, chair of the firm’s Cannabis and Hemp practice and co-chair of the firm's Litigation practice, was recently quoted in an article by NJBIZ titled “Marijuana Reclassification Could Clear Hurdles for NJ Businesses.” The article discusses the Drug Enforcement Agency’s recent steps to reclassify Marijuana as a lower-risk substance, which would have a significant impact on both the research devoted to studying marijuana and the legal cannabis industry across the country.

While the rescheduling would be “truly historic” it is “likely to cause significant confusion,” said Sean Mack.

People who do not have federal licenses are still prosecuted, face years in jail and significant fines for illegally selling ketamine and steroids. So, despite the rescheduling, the manufacture and sale of marijuana will remain illegal under federal law because there is no federal license to manufacture or sell marijuana.  Even after this rescheduling the dichotomy between state legal cannabis businesses and federal illegality of marijuana will remain in place,” Mack said.

Rescheduling cannabis would make it easier for the drug to be researched, something that public health officials and scientists have sought for years.

Mack explained, “As a Schedule I drug, it was extremely difficult to conduct any research into cannabis and access to DEA authorized cannabis was extremely limited. The increased ability for researchers to study marijuana will be good for consumers and for patients as researchers will be able to study its compounds to better understand the effects they produce in the human body.”

Mack went on to say that only time will tell whether the rescheduling will have “any impact on the willingness of banks to provide traditional banking services or for the more traditional financial markets to open up to the cannabis industry.”

As a Schedule I drug, most mainstream financial institutions did not service the cannabis industry because they would effectively be participating in illegal money laundering.  While the penalties for illicit activity involving Schedule III substances are substantially less than that for Schedule I drugs, because marijuana will remain federally illegal it is not clear whether additional financial institutions will be willing to now service the industry,” Mack said.

To read the full NJBIZ article, click here.

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