Survey: 32% of Cannabis Consumers Would Return to Illicit Market If Schedule III Limits Access

About one-third of cannabis consumers say that if the expected federal shift to Schedule III were to require prescription-based transactions at pharmacies instead of the well-established dispensary model, they would go back to relying on the illicit market.

Full story after the jump.

About one-third (32%) of cannabis consumers say that if a rescheduling action were to restrict the industry by requiring retail sales to be prescription-based via pharmacies, they would risk criminal penalties by reverting to the illicit market, according to a survey reported on by Marijuana Moment. A slight majority (55%) of respondents said that if their only legal option was through pharmacies, they would do so.

The survey — which was conducted by the cannabis telemedicine firm NuggMD — polled 795 respondents via the company’s opt-in email list about multiple topics including their current ability to access consumer cannabis products and potential effects of the Biden Administration’s proposed Schedule III rescheduling action.

NuggMD’s head of legal and policy research Deb Tharp said the results show that consumers are at risk under the proposed rescheduling plan unless lawmakers pass legislation “to preserve existing state markets.”

“According to government estimates, more than 35 million Americans use cannabis on a monthly basis. Pushing more than 10 million people into the unregulated market for cannabis strikes me as a very bad outcome because black market cannabis is not safe. I don’t think the severity of this situation is entirely clear to policymakers.” — Tharp, via Marijuana Moment

28% of respondents said that they believe a shift to Schedule III would make it more difficult to access cannabis, while 25% said it would improve access and 47% said that they did not expect any change in ease of access. Additionally, 77% of respondents said they would prefer using “traditional botanical products” like cannabis flower over an FDA-approved product, and a strong, 70% majority of respondents said that they believed dispensaries “would pass to consumers any tax savings brought about by new regulations.”

Another recent survey found that President Joe Biden (D) stands to boost his favorability by 11% across the country if he were to follow his were he to follow the Federal Department of Health & Human Services’ rescheduling recommendation.

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