About one-third of cannabis consumers would turn to the illicit market if federal regulations restricted access to cannabis by requiring retail sales to be prescription-based via pharmacies, according to a recent survey conducted by NuggMD. The survey polled 795 respondents about various topics, including their current ability to access cannabis products and the potential effects of the Biden Administration’s proposed rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III. The results highlight the concerns of consumers who rely on dispensaries for their cannabis purchases and emphasize the need for lawmakers to preserve existing state markets to avoid pushing millions of cannabis consumers into the unregulated market.
Summary of the survey findings
Context about the Schedule III rescheduling action
The proposed Schedule III rescheduling action refers to the potential reclassification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. Currently, cannabis is classified as Schedule I, which means it is considered to have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III would acknowledge its medical potential and potentially allow for limited medicinal use. However, if this action were to require prescription-based transactions at pharmacies, it could limit access for consumers who rely on the well-established dispensary model.
Importance of preserving existing state markets
Preserving existing state markets is crucial to ensure safe access to cannabis for consumers. Many states have implemented their own regulations and systems for the cultivation, distribution, and sale of cannabis products. Disrupting these state markets could push consumers into the unregulated illicit market, leading to safety concerns and potential criminal penalties. By preserving existing state markets, lawmakers can maintain the integrity of the legal cannabis industry and address the needs and preferences of consumers.
Percentage of cannabis consumers who would return to the illicit market
The survey conducted by NuggMD revealed that 32% of cannabis consumers would return to the illicit market if the proposed Schedule III rescheduling action were to limit access to cannabis through prescription-based transactions at pharmacies. This finding underscores the potential risks of restricting access and highlights the importance of considering alternative models that prioritize consumer convenience and safety.
Percentage of respondents who would use pharmacies as their only legal option
The survey also found that a slight majority of respondents (55%) would use pharmacies as their only legal option if the well-established dispensary model was no longer available. This indicates that some consumers are open to alternative methods of obtaining cannabis, but it also suggests that a significant portion of consumers may be willing to risk criminal penalties by reverting to the illicit market if their access is restricted.
Expectations regarding ease of access to cannabis with the shift to Schedule III
The survey found that 28% of respondents believed that a shift to Schedule III would make it more difficult to access cannabis, while 25% believed it would improve access. However, the majority (47%) did not expect any change in ease of access. These expectations highlight the uncertainty surrounding the potential impact of the proposed rescheduling action and the need for clear regulations that prioritize accessibility for consumers.
Potential Impact of Schedule III
Risks of relying on the illicit market for cannabis
Relying on the illicit market for cannabis poses various risks for consumers. Unlike regulated dispensaries, the illicit market does not adhere to quality control standards or product testing requirements. This means that consumers may unknowingly purchase contaminated or adulterated products, putting their health and safety at risk. Additionally, the illicit market is associated with criminal activity, which can have legal consequences for both consumers and sellers.
Difficulties in accessing cannabis with pharmacy-based sales
If the proposed Schedule III rescheduling action were to require prescription-based transactions at pharmacies, it could create difficulties in accessing cannabis for consumers. Pharmacies may not have the same expertise or understanding of cannabis products as specialized dispensaries. This could result in limited product selection, lack of product knowledge, and longer wait times for consumers. It is important to consider these potential barriers to access when determining the most appropriate model for cannabis sales.
Consumer preference for traditional botanical products
The survey conducted by NuggMD revealed that 77% of respondents would prefer using “traditional botanical products” like cannabis flower over FDA-approved products. This preference highlights the importance of preserving consumer choice and ensuring that regulations allow for the availability of a variety of cannabis products. Restricting access to botanical products may limit consumer options and force them to seek alternatives in the illicit market.
Preservation of State Markets
Importance of passing legislation to protect existing state markets
Passing legislation to protect existing state markets is crucial to ensure the stability and success of the legal cannabis industry. State markets have implemented regulations that address the specific needs and preferences of their communities. Disrupting these markets could lead to a proliferation of unregulated and potentially unsafe cannabis products. By enacting legislation that supports and preserves state markets, lawmakers can maintain consistency and safety for consumers.
Potential consequences of pushing consumers into the unregulated market
Pushing consumers into the unregulated illicit market can have serious consequences. Without regulatory oversight, the quality and safety of cannabis products cannot be guaranteed. Consumers may unknowingly purchase products that are contaminated, mislabeled, or of poor quality. Additionally, the illicit market contributes to criminal activity and undermines the efforts of regulated businesses to operate legally and responsibly. Protecting consumers and the integrity of the legal cannabis market requires avoiding actions that would inadvertently promote the illicit market.
Safety concerns with black market cannabis
Black market cannabis poses significant safety concerns for consumers. The lack of regulation means that products may be produced without proper quality control measures, leading to potential health risks. Additionally, the illicit nature of the market can create unsafe environments for both buyers and sellers. By preserving existing state markets and ensuring access to legal cannabis, lawmakers can prioritize consumer safety and mitigate the risks associated with the black market.
Consumer Views on Schedule III
Percentage of respondents who view Schedule III as a barrier to access
According to the survey conducted by NuggMD, 28% of respondents believed that a shift to Schedule III would make it more difficult to access cannabis. This perception suggests that there is concern among consumers about the potential impact of the proposed rescheduling action on their ability to obtain cannabis products. Addressing these concerns and ensuring continued access should be a priority when considering federal actions.
Percentage of respondents who expect improved access with the shift
Contrary to the previous finding, 25% of respondents believed that a shift to Schedule III would actually improve access to cannabis. This perspective may stem from the recognition that rescheduling could lead to greater acceptance of cannabis for medicinal use and potentially expand its availability in pharmacies. It is important to consider these differing viewpoints when evaluating the potential impact of rescheduling on access to cannabis.
Consumer preference for cannabis flower over FDA-approved products
The survey conducted by NuggMD revealed that a strong majority (77%) of respondents preferred using “traditional botanical products” like cannabis flower over FDA-approved products. This preference highlights the importance of preserving the availability of cannabis in its natural form and allowing consumers to choose the products that best meet their needs and preferences. Regulations should prioritize consumer choice and ensure access to a variety of cannabis products.
Tax Savings and Dispensaries
Consumer expectation of tax savings passed on by dispensaries
According to the survey, 70% of respondents believed that dispensaries would pass on any tax savings brought about by new regulations. This expectation demonstrates the belief among consumers that dispensaries will act in the best interest of their customers and provide cost savings where possible. Ensuring that dispensaries have the ability to pass on tax savings can contribute to affordability and accessibility for consumers.
Positive impact on favorability if Biden follows rescheduling recommendation
Another recent survey found that President Joe Biden stands to boost his favorability by 11% across the country if he were to follow the Federal Department of Health & Human Services’ rescheduling recommendation. This indicates that there is public support for rescheduling cannabis and that such a decision could have positive implications for the Biden administration.
Potential benefits of federal regulations on dispensaries
Federal regulations on dispensaries could bring about various benefits for both consumers and businesses. Clear guidelines and standards for cultivation, distribution, and sales can ensure product quality and consumer safety. Additionally, federal regulations can provide a level playing field for businesses and promote fair competition. By implementing federal regulations on dispensaries, lawmakers can create a supportive environment for the legal cannabis industry.
In conclusion, the survey findings highlight the importance of considering consumer preferences and needs in federal actions related to cannabis. Restricting access to cannabis by shifting to Schedule III with pharmacy-based sales could lead many consumers to return to the illicit market, risking their safety and potentially facing legal consequences. Preserving existing state markets and passing legislation to protect them is crucial for maintaining a safe and regulated cannabis industry. It is essential to prioritize consumer choice, accessibility, and safety when making decisions that impact the legal cannabis market. By addressing these considerations, lawmakers can avoid the potential consequences of restricting access to cannabis and ensure the continued success of the industry.