That Depends on Social Mood
Will the Drug Enforcement Agency remove marijuana from the same drug classification as heroin and LSD? Socionomics Institute Director Matt Lampert weighs in — watch now.
Dana Weeks: With recreational and medical marijuana on the rise, the U.S. government is currently re-evaluating how marijuana should be classified; specifically, will marijuana move from being a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug and this would make it more acceptable for medical use and treatment in the United States.
I’m Dana Weeks for Elliott Wave TV and today I’m joined today by Matt Lampert, the Director of the Socionomics Institute to talk about both the process and potential conclusions if this change takes place.
So, Matt, why are people talking about whether the Drug Enforcement Agency, the DEA, will reschedule marijuana?
Matt Lampert: The DEA missed a self-imposed June 30 deadline on whether to reschedule marijuana. Currently marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which puts it in the same category as heroin and LSD, and it means that at the federal level, as far as the government’s concerned, it has no known medical benefits and a high potential for abuse. Now one option is for the DEA to reschedule it as a Schedule II drug, which isn’t that much different. It would put it in the same category as cocaine. But since it missed the deadline, people are talking about it because pot advocates and opponents are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to see which direction the government’s going to go.
Dana: How would this decision to reschedule marijuana fit into the longer term trend regarding legalization?
Matt: This is a trend that we’ve had our eyes on for quite some time. Back in 2009, my colleague Euan Wilson at the Socionomics Institute followed up on an observation by Robert Prechter and did a study which showed that social attitudes towards marijuana are linked to social mood as reflected in the stock market. Basically he found that society tends to ban with the bull and chill with bear. So when mood is trending positively as reflected by a rising stock market, society tends to be more restrictive and crack down on marijuana and when mood is trending negatively as reflected in a falling stock market, society tends to do the opposite. So Euan forecasted that after a major low in the markets, marijuana would have its best chance yet at being decriminalized and since the 2009 low, four states plus Washington, DC have legalized recreational marijuana, half the states allow for some form of medical pot and even more allow for some form of legal cannabis treatments. So a change in marijuana’s status at the federal level would just be another step in this long-term trend.
Dana: And given all that, do you think it’s likely that the DEA will reschedule?
Matt: Well, with U.S. markets near all-time highs, it’s not the most opportune moment socionomically for such a development to occur. But one data point in its favor is that the Dow priced in real money, that is, gold, peaked in 1999 and has been trending net lower ever since. So by that measure, we’ve been in a bear market for 16 years. We do think that ultimately as the bear market progresses, marijuana will shed its Schedule I classification, but it remains to be seen if that will happen now or if pot advocates will have to wait a little bit longer for that development to occur so we’ll tune in and see what happens next.
Dana: We certainly will have to tune in! Thanks for today’s interview, Matt.
Matt: You’ve got it, no problem.