COVID-19 May Not Get Cannabis Legalized Federally but What about Shipping It Across a State Line?
Interesting developments in the cannabis world this week as dispensaries and cannabis providers in California were deemed “essential services and activities” by Governor Newsom and allowed to stay open during the coronavirus lockdown. Granted, it is only in California and maybe Colorado if we get there, but it opens an interesting discussion on one front.
We got some great feedback on our article “Cannabis’ What If Moment – The Coronavirus Pandemic and Weed”. It looked at the “What if” part of cannabis helping in some way to fight/contain/diminish the strength of/cut recovery time in half/of the coronavirus, would we see immediate Federal legalization? What medical study or crowdsourced reporting would we need to see in order for governments around the world to deschedule cannabis and order growers to put as many seeds in the ground as possible? You can read the article by clicking on the link about but basically it is a super long shot still, but it isn’t a 99 to 1 chance anymore. With so many things changing every 48 hours and so many drugs and ideas being tested and looked into, anything could happen. We emphasis that cannabis is in no way a cure or vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus, but look more along the lines of “what if” cannabis use cut the potency of the virus by 50% or cut recovery time down by 50%? Something much more reasonable to have happen or pop up, would that be enough for a Trump administration to make the call to the DEA and deschedule cannabis.
What is so new now from that article to write a new article?
With California deeming dispensaries as “essential services” along with the likes of drug stores, supermarkets, and gas stations, that means cannabis is considered an essential….something. Medicine? Recreational anxiety and calming item? If cannabis is essential like medicine, gas, pharmacy drugs, and food, could we see a scenario where a mandate is issued that cannabis can now cross a state line and be shipped by normal providers like UPS, USPS, and FedEx? Doctors and nurses who are registered in one state are now by emergency order allowed to practice medicine in all states. That means if doctors are needed at a hospital or situation in NJ, but they live and practice in NY, they are all good. Their license is now reciprocal in all states. This move was done to allow nurses and doctors from non-populated areas to be rushed in and practice medicine in highly populated areas.
If cannabis is a medicine and helping in the fight against the coronavirus one way or the other (actual medicine or just people using it to stay calm and stress free), what if one state is running low and needs a big shipment from a state like Oregon or Colorado? I do not think states that have not at least approved a medical program will go “jump the shark” and go from nothing to shipping in medical or recreational weed, but 39 states have a medical program right now, with 5 more voting in November. To be honest, that is just about everyone in America. Some of the states that are still saying no to medical marijuana have the lowest population data in America. North Dakota doesn’t want medical marijuana, fine, all 197 people that live in the state are out of luck. But what if Florida needed to import tons (literally) of cannabis for their aging population and retirees that are about to get lambasted by the coronavirus? As we mentioned in our article “Some People Just Want to Die”, Florida is setting up to be our Italy. A perfect storm of old people, young kids on Spring Break not heading the CDC warnings, and not enough ventilators needed in a few weeks.
If California deems cannabis essential in this time of fighting a global pandemic, is it not essential to Floridians or people from Michigan who want to use cannabis in the same way? Florida and Michigan will run of cannabis suppliers much faster than Oregon and Washington, so if those states needed medical marijuana shipped in, would this current environment call for a “waiver to ship cannabis from medical state to medical state”?
I am not saying it is a sure thing, but if full legalization due to the coronavirus outbreak is a 3% chance (97% chance it doesn’t happen), then allowing for legal state to state shipping of cannabis is at 15%. (85% chance Trump or the Federal government says no). It has a much better chance of happening than full Federal legalization, but still not a high probability.
It would require the current Republican administration, whom have not shown much affinity to cannabis or legalizing pot at the Federal level, to acknowledge its’ medical use and value, and also that is belongs in the same realm of conversation as gas, prescription drugs, food, and emergency supplies. One fear may be that by opening this door, legal state to legal state shipping, you open Pandora’s box of a full legalization down the road since you acknowledge its’ medical value, need, and place in society in a time of distress.
How could you not legalized it fully at the Federal level down the road when the virus is better contained when you just acknowledged all the stuff that the schedule 1 listing says IT DOES NOT HAVE OR DO. By allowing cannabis to be shipped in this scenario, you also acknowledged it does not meet the criteria to stay a schedule 1 drug, which according to the definition, has “no medicinal value whatsoever.”
Once you allow interstate commerce and shipping the wall falls down pretty quickly based on definitions.
Time will tell but check back in 30 days and see where cannabis stands in relation to the virus. As we mentioned in the “What If” article, all it takes is a legit study or a group of a few thousands crowdsourced reports of cannabis working wonders in fighting off the virus or in recovery times and governments may have to cave on keeping cannabis as a schedule 1 drug.