Rescheduling Cannabis and Hispanics in the USA

Not just a policy change but a commitment to justice, equity, and economic opportunity for Hispanic communities and beyond.

The Medical Advisory Board of the National Hispanic Cannabis Council (NHCC) endorses the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) recommendation to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. The HHS correctly concluded that cannabis “has a currently accepted medical use” and that its abuse potential does not justify its inclusion as a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance. 

From a Hispanic perspective, reclassifying cannabis to Schedule III would mark a historic step toward ending prohibition. This reclassification would have several significant impacts:

1

Building on the Progress of Advocacy Groups and States:

    • Many Hispanic communities have been at the forefront of the legalization movement for years. This reclassification acknowledges their efforts and sacrifices, recognizing the long-standing fight for equitable cannabis laws.
    • It also aligns with President Biden’s executive action to pardon those convicted of simple cannabis possession at the federal level, addressing the disproportionate impact of cannabis prohibition on Hispanic and other minority communities.

from the NHCC Medical Advisory Board

using our template to the DEA

2

Reducing Criminal Liability:

    • Hispanic communities have disproportionately suffered from cannabis-related criminal convictions. Reclassifying cannabis sends a strong message to the criminal justice system that cannabis is a lower enforcement priority.
    • This change encourages prosecutors and sentencing judges to view cannabis offenses as less severe, which could lead to fewer incarcerations and a reduction in the criminalization of Hispanic individuals for cannabis-related activities.

from the NHCC Medical Advisory Board

using our template to the DEA

3

Providing Fair Treatment Under Federal Tax Code:

    • Small Hispanic-owned cannabis businesses often face financial challenges due to the heavy tax burdens imposed by Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code. Reclassifying cannabis would alleviate these tax penalties, enabling fairer treatment and more sustainable business operations.
    • This reform would boost social equity, helping Hispanic entrepreneurs thrive in the cannabis industry by removing the crushing burden of 280E.

from the NHCC Medical Advisory Board

using our template to the DEA

4

Supporting Economic Growth:

    • The cannabis industry is generating billions of dollars and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, many of which benefit Hispanic workers and business owners. Reclassification would further support this industry by encouraging financial institutions and service providers to participate, enhancing economic opportunities for Hispanic communities.
    • By fostering a more inclusive and equitable industry, reclassification helps ensure that the economic benefits of cannabis legalization are accessible to all, particularly those in Hispanic communities that have been historically marginalized.

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