How the DEA could introduce big pharma to marijuana

The U.S. could soon be one step closer to allowing marijuana sales at your local drugstore. But while that might mean good news for patients, it could also overturn 20 years of development in the medical marijuana industry.

A long-awaited decision by the Drug Enforcement Administration that could reclassify the drug’s status as a tightly regulated substance is expected this summer. That could signal a green light for the pharmaceutical industry to enter a market expected to be worth $6.7 billion in 2016, potentially leading to the development of new treatments to well-known illnesses.

But it could also shake up states where medicinal marijuana is already legal, which saw an estimated $2.4 billion in sales last year, as the standard prescription and pharmacy process replaces doctor’s recommendations and dispensaries. In short, experts say, the DEA’s decision could simultaneously legitimize medical cannabis across the U.S. and throw a still-developing

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