In Montana, for example, if marijuana were federally rescheduled as a schedule III drug, if a business wanted to produce marijuana for medical use, it would need to be licensed and regulated by the Montana Board of Pharmacy. The U.S. DEA would set quotas for production. The Board of Pharmacy could choose to license a single business to provide the raw marijuana for Montana pharmaceutical companies to use in developing their patentable, cannabis-based products, if any choose to develop such products. Patented products are inevitable and necessary for profits. Genetically modified seeds are inevitable, as well, and are already the trend in the development of agricultural products.
But equally important as pharmaceutical companies taking control of the resource in the legal market is that rescheduling also assures a continuation of a vibrant black market which protects the resources of law enforcement, private prisons, and court-ordered treatment programs.
A rescheduling of marijuana, in short, would be the end of local economies and the middle class financially benefiting from the shift in marijuana’s legal status. Though many marijuana advocates call for the rescheduling of marijuana, success in this effort would serve primarily as a shrewd move for creating the illusion of change while creating the least actual change when it comes to marijuana policy and the beneficiaries of that policy.