legislation Archives - Green Market Report

Adam JacksonJuly 25, 2022
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8min150

This week Washington D.C. has brought cannabis back for more discussion. There are two different hearings and both could center around social equity issues that have proven difficult to tackle even at the state level. 

First up, Congressional lawmakers will look to discuss social equity provisions within marijuana legalization at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee – chaired by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) – at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Decriminalizing Cannabis

 While details are scarce, the hearing – titled “Decriminalizing Cannabis at the Federal Level: Necessary Steps to Address Past Harms.” – will presumably hash out social equity initiatives in the newly filed Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) before it hits the Senate floor. The hearing announcement came only a day before Booker, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY), and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, (D-OR) filed their comprehensive pot package. HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and HSGAC Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI) also co-sponsored the legislation.

 The bill is a revised update to the draft version Schumer unveiled last year, with provisions to remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and empower states to implement their own cannabis laws. And since the draft’s introduction last year, a wide range of constituencies – including lawmakers on both aisles, advocates and stakeholders – have actively provided input to the terms of the package.

“Last September, we shared detailed comments on the public draft of the CAO Act, including our specific concerns about key aspects of the legislation,” said U.S. Cannabis Council CEO Steven Hawkin. “The U.S. Cannabis Council still shares those concerns and believes it is critical to get the details right on America’s transition to legal, fully regulated cannabis. We welcome robust hearings in the coming days that fully consider key concerns around regulation, taxation, equity and responsible use.

 “The detailed policy conversations happening around the CAO Act should not distract us from its historic nature. At the same time, the ambitious and sweeping nature of the bill should not distract Congress from advancing limited yet critical reforms, such as expungement and the SAFE Banking Act, that are immediately within reach.”

 According to Booker, the legislation establishes a federal regulatory framework to protect public health and safety, prioritizes restorative and economic justice to help undo the decades of harm caused by the failed War on Drugs, ends discrimination in the provision of federal benefits based on cannabis use, provides major investments for cannabis research and strengthens worker protections. And by decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level, the CAOA also ensures that state-legal cannabis businesses or those in adjacent industries will no longer be denied access to bank accounts or financial services simply because of their ties to cannabis, the release said.

Examining Hemp

Also in the pipeline this week, members of a House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research will meet on Thursday to further discuss federal hemp regulation in a hearing, titled, “An Examination of the USDA Hemp Production Program.”

The specifics are not clear, though House Agriculture Committee chairman, Rep. David Scott (D-GA) said in February that he believes the next Farm Bill should act beyond the scope of hemp to include social equity provisions related to marijuana itself, such as removing industry barriers for Black entrepreneurs and small operators.

“We’ve got to address this issue,” Scott told Roll Call at the time. “We can no longer hide it.”

Additionally, Marijuana Moment reported that House Appropriations Committee leaders recently released spending legislation for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling for multiagency coordination to create guidance on hemp manufacturing. The legislation also recommends that the USDA partners with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to resolve concerns about enforcement actions for hemp that exceeds the 0.3% THC limit during extract processing.

 The Congressional Research Service (CRS) also said in a March report that Congress should address industry concerns about the lack of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for hemp-derived CBD products in the food supply.

Industry leaders have historically taken the position of supporting social equity in marijuana decriminalization. Here’s what one said in response to the bill introduction:

Mark Lozzi, CEO of Confia said, “We are hopeful about the newly introduced legalization bill, which includes social equity provisions. Until we have a solid system in place through legalization, including non-predatory banking opportunities, we will continue to see distrust of our industry, while compounding the challenges of transparency, regulation, and oversight. Social equity is a crucial part of cannabis legalization, and no business or individual deserves to be left behind.


StaffJuly 22, 2022
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15min420

Despite the forward progress of having some new cannabis legislation, industry insiders and top executives seem less than thrilled with the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act or (CAOA). Yesterday, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY), and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, (D-OR) today introduced comprehensive legislation that would end the harmful and out-of-touch federal prohibition on cannabis by removing cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and empowering states to implement their own cannabis laws. HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and HSGAC Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI) also co-sponsored the legislation.

According to Senator Booker, the legislation establishes a federal regulatory framework to protect public health and safety, prioritizes restorative and economic justice to help undo the decades of harm caused by the failed War on Drugs, ends discrimination in the provision of federal benefits on the basis of cannabis use, provides major investments for cannabis research, and strengthens worker protections. By decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level, the CAOA also ensures that state-legal cannabis businesses or those in adjacent industries will no longer be denied access to bank accounts or financial services simply because of their ties to cannabis.

However, many expressed skepticism about it. Here are their comments:

Matt Hawkins, Founder and Managing Partner, Entourage Effect Capital

“Although we see the long-awaited introduction of CAOA as another positive sign for eventual federal cannabis reform, the Democrat-proposed bill will have a tough time passing the Senate. It is perhaps most important to take stock of its language, as we could see portions of CAOA added to future bills that have a better chance of passing. Democrats are likely to lose the House in November’s midterms, so we expect the party to fight extra hard to pass a cannabis bill before they lose the opportunity, especially given the current administration’s perceived shortcomings in progressing other federal priorities.”

Troy Datcher, CEO, The Parent Company:

“The Senate’s historic introduction of a bill decriminalizing cannabis on the federal level marks the beginning of a new direction after nearly a century of the failed policy of cannabis prohibition in the United States. In the coming weeks, we look forward to a robust debate on The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act and will be watching closely to see whether the bill appears likely to obtain the support necessary for passage in the Senate.

While engaged in this important and necessary debate about the best policy framework for cannabis legalization, we urge the Senate to not lose sight of those reforms that have broad bipartisan support, such as the SAFE Banking Act, expungement of cannabis convictions and efforts to lower the barriers to entry for minority cannabis operators. These reforms are urgently needed to create the equitable and thriving cannabis industry we are hoping to build in the United States.”

Morgan Paxhia, Co-founder & Managing Director, Poseidon Asset Management

“We see the CAOA is a nonstarter. The cannabis industry could be thankful, excluding the harm caused by lack/adverse Federal action, for the little to no work done on this bill as it helps demonstrate the validity of SAFE. We still see little to no probability of Federal progress but the odds of SAFE happening in 2022 went up today post the release of CAOA.”

Ryan G. Smith, Co-Founder and CEO, LeafLink

“With $33 billion in retail sales and more than half a million jobs created, the cannabis industry is an important economic engine. Yet for too long, the absence of federal action has disadvantaged state-regulated cannabis companies and has led to a patchwork of state regulations to try to support these markets and achieve important goals around equity and entrepreneurship.

“LeafLink is committed to fostering healthy and equitable cannabis markets, and we’re pleased to see the Senate take an important step toward aligning federal and state law. As a New York-based company, we applaud Majority Leader Schumer’s prioritization and championing of federal cannabis reform and encourage legislators to take thoughtful action to support the industry’s future.”

Joseph Dowling, CEO of CV Sciences

“For far too long, cannabis and CBD regulations across the United States have been a patchwork of rules with no true federal guidance, making it difficult to make approved claims on products and ensure standardized consumer safety protocols. I am thrilled to finally see a bill reach Congress that will affect cannabis on the national level, potentially paving the way for federal regulation of cannabis, CBD and hemp products and enhancing consumer safety.”

Kyle Kazan, CEO Glass House Brands

“While we continue to build a multi-billion dollar cannabis industry and debate the details of legalization, many thousands of people are wasting away behind bars. Within this bill are the keys to their cells, and that’s the reason to support it. The time for discussion is over, and we must act as though it is our loved ones who are watching precious moments of their lives tick away. Pass this bill.”

Nick Kovacevich, CEO Greenlane

“Everyone knows that the current Democratic leadership is eager to legalize cannabis, but the fear is that they won’t be able to find a path through Republican resistance. The fact that a Republican is dropping a legalization bill is very encouraging because it will display a middle ground toward accomplishing this ever-important goal — the legalization of cannabis. Furthermore, this is a smart move by the GOP since they are gaining momentum into the midterms and cannabis is such a popular issue with the voters. If successful with cannabis legalization, it could result in broad election success come a year from now.”

Rob Sechrist, President Pelorus Equity Group

“At a time when the cannabis industry has added hundreds of thousands of jobs, millions in tax dollars, and large-scale infrastructure projects without government handouts, this measure would be a meaningful step forward towards continuing the economic growth that cannabis has created. A more targeted approach is the most likely to get the bipartisan support necessary to get the 60 votes required in the Senate. We look forward to seeing State laws being deconflicted from Federal law as soon as possible.”

While the CAOA was getting all the attention, several executives preferred to switch the attention to the legislation offered by Republican Nancy Mace called the States Reform Act. 

Kim Rivers, CEO Trulieve

“The States Reform Act is a consequential step in the right direction for common sense cannabis reform at the federal level. Our current piecemeal approach to legalization is not only unnecessarily cumbersome from a compliance perspective, but ultimately stymies the long-term growth of the legal industry. Allowing our existing federal structure to regulate cannabis businesses will allow legal companies to operate by a set of standardized guidelines, which ultimately bolsters consumer trust and minimizes risk for investors. Until the bill is passed, Trulieve believes Congress must still prioritize passing the SAFE Banking Act to ensure cannabis companies can fully access the financial resources they need to scale.”

Joe Bayern, CEO Curaleaf 

“We’re incredibly encouraged by this proposed bill, which is a thoughtful approach to decriminalization and includes common sense parameters for existing state markets, regulation, taxation, safe harbor, criminal justice reform, age-appropriate restrictions, hiring practices and veterans’ access. We are grateful to Representative Nancy Mace for blazing another trail in the quest to destigmatize this plant and unlock the economic and job creation opportunities of our emerging industry, along with the health and wellness possibilities for millions of Americans who have already demanded an alternative to traditional routes of medication and relaxation.”

Jon Sandelman, CEO Ayr Wellness

This bill represents the latest step towards the mainstreaming of the U.S. cannabis sector. This industry has thrived despite federal illegality, delivering results and experiencing incredible growth despite headwinds of all types. The industry and its participants of all sizes deserve the opportunities that federal reform will provide.

We applaud the courage we’ve seen on both sides of the aisle in addressing this important issue, most recently Rep. Mace who added a new Republican voice to the discussion of common-sense cannabis legalization. While this discussion is still in its early phases, we believe it is important that both sides of the aisle are actively engaging in conversation to create a fair, safe and regulated cannabis industry that benefits all stakeholders, including local communities and those disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.”

Abner Kurtin, CEO Ascend Wellness

“U.S. Representative Nancy Mace (D-SC) has introduced a strong middle-ground solution to federal cannabis legalization with the States Reform Act —[it’s not as ambitious as the CAOA but is more productive than the STATES Act, and thus more likely to see the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate. The presentation of a Republican-led cannabis reform bill is a huge milestone for cannabis, proving that leaders on both sides of the fence recognize the major importance of our industry in terms of public health, local and state tax growth and the creation of hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs. Although we would have liked more emphasis on social equity initiatives, we’re glad to see measures in the bill support increased access to the legal market, small businesses and re-entry into society for those with nonviolent cannabis offenses.”

Jim Cacioppo, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Founder Jushi Holdings

“Jushi commends U.S. Representative Nancy Mace, D-SC, for her interest in responsibly bringing an end to federal cannabis prohibition and her excellent work in preparing the States Reform Act. Representative Mace’s States Reform Act is a comprehensive, thoughtful measure that strikes a commonsense balance between supporting important public health, safety, and welfare priorities on the one hand, and ensuring disproportionate enforcement of minor, non-violent cannabis possession crimes cannot continue to harm communities across our country on the other.

Given the critical mass of U.S. jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis for at least one purpose, it is especially noteworthy that the States Reform Act acknowledges and protects states’ rights. Representative Mace’s bill proposes a model that would ensure the will of the people in each state is reflected through the scope and character of their legal cannabis program, if any. And, with respect to public safety, the federal tax structure proposed in the bill is smartly fixed so legal cannabis products can be price-competitive with illicit market cannabis products – which will help stamp out the organized criminal enterprises presently supplying the bulk of illicit cannabis in the U.S. from our neighborhoods. Further, by removing federal barriers to cannabis-related medical research and access to ordinary business services, U.S. doctors and scientists could begin much-needed clinical studies in earnest, and states could spur economic development, create new business ownership opportunities, and job creation in urban, suburban, and rural communities alike on the people’s terms.

 


StaffJuly 7, 2022
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5min191

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) led Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)  banded together to send a letter to President Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, following up on previous requests that the administration use its authority to deschedule cannabis and pardon non-violent cannabis-related offenders. The letter was issued on July 6.

“We commend the administration’s recent pardons and commutations of 78 people, including nine with non-violent cannabis-related offenses,” said the lawmakers. “However, much more has to be done to address the racist and harmful legacy of cannabis policies on Black and Brown communities.”

According to Warren’s website, in November 2021, Senators Warren and Markey sent a letter to the President asking him to use constitutional authority to pardon all individuals convicted of non-violent cannabis-related offenses, whether formerly or currently incarcerated. They say the administration has not responded to this letter, and it is estimated that over 40,000 individuals are still incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses.

A month earlier, Senators Warren and Booker wrote to Attorney General Garland urging him to begin the process of declassifying cannabis as a Schedule I drug. In April 2022, six months after the first letter, the Department of Justice (DOJ) answered with an inadequate half-page response, noting the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) determination that “cannabis has not been proven in scientific studies to be a safe and effective treatment for any disease or condition”’ and disregarding the DOJ’s clear authority under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to begin the descheduling process and act independently of HHS’s outdated and flawed determination conducted under a previous administration.

In the letter, the Senators write, ” The American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and New England Journal of Medicine have all supported legalizing cannabis for medicinal use. The World Health Organization has also recommended reclassifying cannabis from its most restrictive classification under international drug treaties.”

The Senators argued for more to be done to address the racist and harmful legacy of cannabis policies on Black and Brown communities. The letter stated, “A report released by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2020 found that Black individuals were nearly four times as likely to be arrested for cannabis possession even with comparable usage rates amongst individuals of all races. In some states Black individuals were almost 10 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession.”

“The administration’s failure to coordinate a timely review of its cannabis policy is harming thousands of Americans, slowing research, and depriving Americans of their ability to use marijuana for medical or other purposes,” concluded the lawmakers. “We ask that the administration act quickly to rectify this decade long injustice harming individuals, especially Black and Brown communities.”

NORML Political Director Morgan Fox said: “Getting bipartisan support for anything seems next to impossible these days, and Senators Rosen and Merkley should be commended for getting nearly a quarter of the upper chamber to publicly rally behind including SAFE Banking in this  bill. This narrowly tailored language would help address outdated policy that is limiting opportunities for small businesses and costing lives. Lawmakers from across the political spectrum, as well as a majority of voters nationwide, have been calling for this legislation for years only to meet with inaction in the Senate. Given the pace of state-level legalization in recent years, Senators on this conference committee would do well to remember that even if their states might not be directly impacted now, this could very well benefit their constituents in the near future.”


Dave HodesJune 7, 2022
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10min280

Another sure sign that psychedelics are gaining momentum in mainstream medicine is how government officials and lawmakers are reacting to the surge of interest from the public.

For example, in May, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) wrote a letter to Lawrence A. Tabak, the acting director National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Dr. Robert M. Califf, the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) referencing a January workshop on psychedelics by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and encouraging both the NIH and FDA “to further expand their role in identifying research gaps, potentially promising therapeutic uses of psychedelics, and regulatory hurdles in the field of psychedelic research.” That January workshop, they wrote, marked another positive step by the NIH in understanding the benefits of psychedelics.

They also cited work by the NIH in April 2021, when it awarded its first grant dedicated to medicinal psychedelic research with psilocybin. The senators then asked both agencies about any upcoming research, collaborations, and regulatory barriers.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who has been promoting legalizing cannabis for years, and has been battling the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) about cannabis scheduling and law enforcement, circulated a letter in December asking for signatures to petition the DEA to make psilocybin available for patients. 

Blumenauer was involved in the Oregon Measure 109 authorizing the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to create a program to permit licensed service providers to administer psilocybin-producing mushroom and fungi products to individuals 21 years of age or older. The measure passed on November 3, 2020, making Oregon the first state to legalize psilocybin. “We need more and better research (for psychedelics), first and foremost,” he said, speaking during the launch of the Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR), a three-year initiative by the Harvard Law School to examine the ethical, legal, and social implications of psychedelics research, commerce, and therapeutics. “It needs more scientific rigor,” Blumenauer said.

Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), said MAPS has a program as part of their psychedelic harm reduction work to make drug policy work by consulting with and having a training program for police in Denver about what to do if they see someone having a difficult psychedelic experience. “We are going to do a pilot program of about 100 and if that works we will sign a contract do about 3,000 first responders in Denver,” he said at the POPLAR launch event. “We hope to do that in Oregon and elsewhere.” 

All those actions are the result of the steady drumbeat to decriminalize psychedelics, beginning with Denver in May 2019, which has been pushed by advocates to the top of the agenda for some lawmakers with varying degrees of success. There are a dozen cities and states that now have laws about decriminalizing psychedelics. Efforts to decriminalize continue in New York, Vermont, California, Utah, Missouri, Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, and Hawaii.

But obstacles remain. 

One recent example comes from California State Senator Scott Wiener who introduced Senate Bill 519 in February 2021 to decriminalize not just psilocybin but also dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and mescaline in California.

That bill was put on hold in August 2021, and appears to be stuck in a stalemate. It is set to be revived sometime in 2022, according to Weiner speaking at the POPLAR launch event. 

The bill’s authors noted that the savings to the state for the decriminalization of those psychedelics would be $1 million if “just five fewer people are sentenced to state prison.” Opposition to the bill claimed that “there is evidence that the hallucinogenic effects of LSD can fuel murders and reportedly there have been at least 11 homicides involving LSD. Hallucinations can be dangerous to users and bystanders alike, and it is not clear that the benefit of legalizing these drugs outweighs the cost to the common welfare.”

But on another political level, psychedelics have been portrayed as having the power to change political viewpoints, effectively making people less authoritarian and more liberal thinking, leading to a more progressive and inclusive society. 

However, there are other historical examples where people with authoritarian views remained unaffected by psychedelic experience, or even developed authoritarian views after or with the assistance of a classic psychedelic. The jury is still out on this particular issue.It is imperative to address these blind spots to advance coherent, interdisciplinary socio-political frameworks for analyzing and engaging with the experiential realities and potential implications of psychedelic drug use,” one study concluded.

Doblin himself has advocated for a broader political and sociological change he believes can happen with psychedelics, saying that there is a fundamental unity with the processes of nature and the functioning of the universe that people can experience through psychedelics. “I think this will have profound political implications once we realize our intimate connection to nature, to global warming, to the environment, to other species, to other people that look different than us who have different religions or different gender orientation,” he said during the keynote for POPLAR. “I think this fundamental unity is what psychedelics will help people experience. So this is the political theory behind what we are trying to say. Which is that the more people we can help experience this fundamental unity, the better off we will be.” 

 


Dave HodesJanuary 25, 2022
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8min190

Nearly every day, another new rule favoring the decriminalization of psychedelics or otherwise prompting favorable treatment of psychedelics is announced. Here’s a roundup of some of the most recent actions in January alone:

– January 19. After facing legal scrutiny for decades, psychedelics including MDMA and psilocybin received a stamp of approval from Health Canada for medical purposes. Canada’s legislation now permits the use of psychedelics beyond palliative care.

– January 18. U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) led a bipartisan group of six lawmakers in urging the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to stop blocking terminally ill patients’ access to therapeutic psilocybin treatments. 41 state legislatures and the federal government have passed Right to Try (RTT) laws to allow terminally ill patients access to treatments, including psilocybin, that is still in investigational stages. The DEA, however, has refused to accommodate RTT laws, denying terminally ill patients their freedom to elect their preferred treatments.

– January 17. Missouri State Representative Michael Davis (R) reportedly filed a bill that expands Missouri’s Right to Try statute to include Schedule 1 investigational drugs, with a focus on psychedelic drugs including psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, and ibogaine. Davis filed an identical bill, HB 1176, in February 2021.

– January 17. Utah State Representative Brady Brammer sponsored HB 167 that creates the Mental Illness Psychotherapy Drug Task Force, requiring the task force to study and make recommendations on drugs that may assist in treating mental illness. Although not specifically mentioned in the bill, psilocybin is likely the “main ringleader” of drugs that would be considered by the task force, according to a report by KSL, a news radio station in Salt Lake City.

– January 12 – A second public hearing in the General Court of New Hampshire for HB 1349 is held to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. The bill would reduce possession of up to 12 grams to a violation with a $100 fine.

– January 12. Virginia Delegate Dawn Adams (D) introduced HB 898, a bill that provides any person 21 years of age or older who knowingly or intentionally possesses peyote, ibogaine, psilocybin, or psilocyn shall be punished by a civil penalty of no more than $100, and such civil penalties shall be deposited into the Drug Offender Assessment and Treatment Fund. Under current Virginia law, a person who knowingly or intentionally possesses such substances is guilty of a Class 5 felony. If convicted, the offender could be sentenced to 10 years in prison, or jail for not more than 12 months, and/or a fine of not more than $2,500.

– January 11. The International Therapeutic Psilocybin Rescheduling Initiative (ITPRI) is launched today. It is a global coalition working to promote and secure a rescheduling of psilocybin under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Advisory board members of the coalition include the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Beckley Foundation, and the former Secretary to the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

– January 11. The first reading in the Florida House of Representatives of HB 193 is held. The bill is sponsored by Florida State Representative Michael Grieco (D) would allow using alternative therapies to treat mental health and other medical conditions

– January 10. Kansas State Representative Aaron Coleman (D) introduces HB 2465 to decriminalize the possession, cultivation, and distribution of psilocybin. 

– January 5. Seven state senators in Washington State filed a bill, SB 5660, that would create a state-licensed program to provide medical treatment with psilocybin after an 18-month development period.

But that’s just January. Other legislation on the books for traction in 2022 include California’s psychedelics decriminalization bill SB 519; two psychedelics-related decriminalization initiatives slated to be on the November 2022 ballot in Colorado, Initiative 49 and Initiative 50; and Michigan SB 631, which would legalize possession, cultivation, and delivery of several plant and fungus-derived psychedelics, including psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, now in Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.


StaffNovember 15, 2021
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10min1000

Democrats support cannabis legislation, unfortunately, they haven’t been able to move the ball over the line. Seeing an opening, Republican members of Congress said they plan on formally introducing a bill to federally legalize and tax marijuana called the States Reform Act or SRA. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) is sponsoring the bill along with five Republican cosponsors. Democrats have two different piece of legislation being considered. One focuses mostly on banking whereas the other is more far reaching. The industry has been pushing for the banking reform because they felt that they could get the Republicans on board.

However, the Democrats seemed to get bogged down in wanting to go further than just banking reform. The Republican version would end federal prohibition while existing cannabis companies can continue operating as federal rules change.

The States Reform Act:

  • Federally decriminalizes cannabis and fully defers to state powers over prohibition and commercial regulation
  • Regulates cannabis products like alcohol products
  • Institutes a 3% federal excise tax on those products to fund law enforcement and small business programs.
  • Ensures the continued existence of state medical cannabis programs and patient access while allowing for new medical research and products to be developed
  • Protects our veterans by ensuring they will not be discriminated against in federal hiring for cannabis use or lose their VA healthcare for following their doctor’s advice to use medical cannabis
  • Protects children and young adults under 21 from cannabis products and advertising nationwide

The following industry leaders have weighed in:

Trulieve – Kim Rivers, CEO

“The States Reform Act is a consequential step in the right direction for common sense cannabis reform at the federal level. Our current piecemeal approach to legalization is not only unnecessarily cumbersome from a compliance perspective, but ultimately stymies the long-term growth of the legal industry. Allowing our existing federal structure to regulate cannabis businesses will allow legal companies to operate by a set of standardized guidelines, which ultimately bolsters consumer trust and minimizes risk for investors. Until the bill is passed, Trulieve believes Congress must still prioritize passing the SAFE Banking Act to ensure cannabis companies can fully access the financial resources they need to scale.”

Entourage Effect Capital – Matt Hawkins, Managing Partner

“While Representative Mace’s States Reform Act (SRA) applies necessary pressure on Congress to pass cannabis reforms, Congress’ primary focus should still be the SAFE Banking Act. At this stage, public safety and tax compliance are two key issues that both cannabis industry stakeholders and regulators want to address immediately, and this can be done directly through SAFE without broaching the topic of legalization. Considering the immense growth of the legal industry in the past year alone, it is imperative to bring cannabis into the mainstream financial system so that businesses of all sizes can build constructive relationships with federal regulators and access the appropriate resources to scale.”

Curaleaf – Joe Bayern, CEO

“We’re incredibly encouraged by this proposed bill, which is a thoughtful approach to decriminalization and includes common sense parameters for existing state markets, regulation, taxation, safe harbor, criminal justice reform, age-appropriate restrictions, hiring practices and veterans’ access. We are grateful to Representative Nancy Mace for blazing another trail in the quest to destigmatize this plant and unlock the economic and job creation opportunities of our emerging industry, along with the health and wellness possibilities for millions of Americans who have already demanded an alternative to traditional routes of medication and relaxation.”

Glass House Brands – Kyle Kazan, CEO

“While we continue to build a multi-billion dollar cannabis industry and debate the details of legalization, many thousands of people are wasting away behind bars. Within this bill are the keys to their cells, and that’s the reason to support it. The time for discussion is over, and we must act as though it is our loved ones who are watching precious moments of their lives tick away. Pass this bill.”

Ayr Wellness (OTCQX:AYRWF) – Jon Sandelman, CEO

This bill represents the latest step towards the mainstreaming of the U.S. cannabis sector. This industry has thrived despite federal illegality, delivering results and experiencing incredible growth despite headwinds of all types. The industry and its participants of all sizes deserve the opportunities that federal reform will provide.

We applaud the courage we’ve seen on both sides of the aisle in addressing this important issue, most recently Rep. Mace who added a new Republican voice to the discussion of common-sense cannabis legalization. While this discussion is still in its early phases, we believe it is important that both sides of the aisle are actively engaging in conversation to create a fair, safe and regulated cannabis industry that benefits all stakeholders, including local communities and those disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.”

Ascend Wellness (OTCQX:AAWH) – Abner Kurtin, CEO

“U.S. Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC) has introduced a strong middle-ground solution to federal cannabis legalization with the States Reform Act —[it’s not as ambitious as the CAOA but is more productive than the STATES Act, and thus more likely to see the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate. The presentation of a Republican-led cannabis reform bill is a huge milestone for cannabis, proving that leaders on both sides of the fence recognize the major importance of our industry in terms of public health, local and state tax growth and the creation of hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs. Although we would have liked more emphasis on social equity initiatives, we’re glad to see measures in the bill support increased access to the legal market, small businesses and re-entry into society for those with nonviolent cannabis offenses.”

Greenlane – Nick Kovacevich, CEO

“Everyone knows that the current Democratic leadership is eager to legalize cannabis, but the fear is that they won’t be able to find a path through Republican resistance. The fact that a Republican is dropping a legalization bill is very encouraging because it will display a middle ground toward accomplishing this ever-important goal — the legalization of cannabis. Furthermore, this is a smart move by the GOP since they are gaining momentum into the midterms and cannabis is such a popular issue with the voters. If successful with cannabis legalization, it could result in broad election success come a year from now.”

Pelorus Equity Group – Rob Sechrist, President

“At a time when the cannabis industry has added hundreds of thousands of jobs, millions in tax dollars, and large-scale infrastructure projects without government handouts, this measure would be a meaningful step forward towards continuing the economic growth that cannabis has created. A more targeted approach is the most likely to get the bipartisan support necessary to get the 60 votes required in the Senate. We look forward to seeing State laws being deconflicted from Federal law as soon as possible.”

Jushi Holdings – Jim Cacioppo, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Founder

“Jushi commends U.S. Representative Nancy Mace, R-SC for her interest in responsibly bringing an end to federal cannabis prohibition and her excellent work in preparing the States Reform Act. Representative Mace’s States Reform Act is a comprehensive, thoughtful measure that strikes a commonsense balance between supporting important public health, safety, and welfare priorities on the one hand, and ensuring disproportionate enforcement of minor, non-violent cannabis possession crimes cannot continue to harm communities across our country on the other. ”

 

 


Debra BorchardtJuly 14, 2021
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10min280

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) released the full text of their federal draft marijuana legalization bill called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. This massive piece of legislation is clocking in at a hefty 163 pages and a public comment period is open until September 1.

In general, the legislation aims to deschedule cannabis, expunge prior records, fund equity programs, remove collateral consequences, and transfer regulatory authority for marijuana to the Food and Drug Administration and other federal agencies. Only consumers over the age of 21 would be allowed to buy legal cannabis and adults would be limited to purchases of up to 10 ounces. The bill would also impose a federal tax on marijuana products and put some of that revenue toward grant programs meant to support people from communities most impacted by prohibition who want to participate in the industry.

“Cannabis prohibition, a key pillar of the failed war on drugs, has caused substantial harm to our communities and small businesses, and especially for communities of color,” Wyden said. “It’s as simple as this: Senators Booker, Schumer, and I want to bring common sense to the federal government, end prohibition and restore the lives of those hurt most and set them up for opportunity.”

The legislation proposes to federally deschedule cannabis, expunge prior convictions, allow people to petition for resentencing, maintain the authority of states to set their own marijuana policies, and remove collateral consequences like immigration-related penalties for people who’ve been criminalized over the plant.

The Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR) said in a statement, “The draft demonstrates a commitment to ensure a national legal cannabis market that is equitable, with protections for the small and minority-owned businesses that have been crucial for establishing legal markets in states across the country.

In addition to those items, the CAOA would transfer regulatory authority over cannabis to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“The days of federal prohibition are numbered,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. “These actions by Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senators Booker and Wyden reflect the fact that the supermajority of Americans are demanding that Congress take action to end the cruel and senseless policy of federal prohibition. It is time for legislators to comport federal law with the laws of the growing number of states that have legalized the plant, and it is time for lawmakers to facilitate a federal structure that allows for cannabis commerce so that responsible consumers can obtain high-quality, low-cost cannabis grown right here in America without fear of arrest and incarceration.”

Dasheeda Dawson, Chair of Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition (CRCC) and Cannabis Program Supervisor at City of Portland OR said, “The introduction of the Schumer, Wyden and Booker draft legislation is the first serious look at cannabis legalization for the Senate and I am hopeful that the equity-centered policy reform and regulation led by our members at the state and local levels will continue to shape this historic bill. Across the country, we have seen the positive impact of sharing our informed insights, testimony and proposed amendments aligned with our organization’s founding principles. As active stakeholders overseeing policy and implementation in the existing cannabis industry, CRCC will continue to actively engage with the Senators’ teams, providing industry best practices and cannabis competency gained from our collective and diverse experiences.”

Controlled Substance

One provision within the legislation is a requirement that the attorney general removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act within 60 days of the bill’s enactment. However, it continues to allow states to choose prohibition if they like. This would mean that it would still be federally illegal for a company to send cannabis to a state that has chosen prohibition. However, the states apparently wouldn’t be able to stop businesses from shipping cannabis products across state lines to other states where cannabis is legal.

Nancy Whiteman, CEO, Wana Brands said, “Federal decriminalization would also enable manufacturing and then shipping across state lines which would greatly benefit brands like Wana. Supply chains will become more efficient and cost-effective as plants would be grown in appropriate outdoor climates and other materials could be sourced across markets. For a company like Wana, it means that we would be able to manufacture and ship out of regional or national facilities instead of recreating the wheel in every market.”

Government agencies would all get in on the act. The Bureau of Labor Statistics would begin compiling data on jobs and employers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be required to work with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on ways to promote cannabis research. The  HHS would also work with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on data collection for marijuana-impaired driving while also supporting research into “an impairment standard for driving under the influence of cannabis.”

Feedback

The public will have until September 1 to comment on the language of the bill. Marijuana Moment drilled down to summarize the main points for feedback:

-Measuring the potency of cannabis products, the overlap of definitions for hemp and marijuana, regulations for synthetic THC, regulatory responsibilities for various federal agencies and FDA funding.

-Coordinating federal and state law enforcement responsibilities for cannabis, state “primacy regarding cannabis regulation” and interstate commerce.

-Balancing efforts to reduce barriers to entry to the marijuana industry while mitigating the influence of illicit cannabis operators.

-Determining whether cannabis products should go through a premarket review before being marketed.

-How to deal with international treaty obligations with respect to marijuana.

Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments on these and other issues to Cannabis_Reform@finance.senate.gov by September 1.

Next Steps

The legislative draft that the Senators came up with was based partially on a bill that the House passed in December.  It included similar language that would remove some federal penalties, feature a form of expungement and address social equity issues. The House vote at the time was split mostly down party lines and very few Republicans voted for the bill. It seems expungement is a sticking point for many Republicans. The likelihood of this legislation getting the votes in the Senate is low. Even Schumer suggested it was merely a jumping-off point to start the conversation.

“We’d certainly listen to some suggestions if that’ll bring more people on board,” Schumer said. “That is not to say we’re going to throw overboard things like expungement of records — very important to us — and other things like that, just ’cause some people don’t like it.”


Debra BorchardtJuly 31, 2020
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3min120

The House voted to approve Part B Amendment #87 Thursday evening, which is a provision to prevent the federal government from using any funds to interfere with state medical or adult-use programs or target individuals and businesses that are in compliance with state cannabis laws. The bipartisan amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill was introduced by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

“The existing policy of prohibition is an abject failure,” said Rep. Blumenhauer, adding that criminalization disproportionately impacts communities of color and has driven mass protests against police violence. “This selective enforcement of nonsensical policy has posed huge problems for black Americans.”

The amendment passed in a voice vote on Thursday and was then followed by the House of Representatives roll call vote of 254-163. Six Democrats declined to vote in favor while 31 Republicans did vote in favor. The same amendment was passed by the House last year but it did not end up in the final budget bill. Since 2014, Congress has approved has continually approved such language. However, another representative began offering other amendments that would have taken federal money from states that legalized cannabis.

“Today’s House vote aligns with the overwhelming majority of Americans who oppose federal interference with the successful cannabis programs operating throughout the country,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “Now, it’s time for the Senate to do the right thing and ensure this sensible provision makes it into the final budget legislation so that states can continue to forge their own path on marijuana policy without federal intrusion.”

The legislation though needs to be approved by the Senate. Last year, similar language was stripped out, which the President signed. So far the Senate has not begun reviewing appropriation bills for the 2021 fiscal year.

“Passage of this amendment would give state-legal and essential cannabis businesses some temporary peace of mind while Congress works to permanently end federal prohibition and repair the damage it has done to marginalized communities,” continued Smith. “It is clear that there is strong bipartisan support for cannabis policy reform and we will continue working with lawmakers to promote further legislation in this session.”


Colette TozerFebruary 10, 2020
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4min80

Editors Note: You can follow all the legislation around cannabis on our website for free by clicking on the Legislation tab. 

2020 started with legislation siding entirely in favor of Cannabis throughout twelve states US (and the District of Columbia). Aside from full legalization, more than 75% of the United States of America have legalized (and decriminalized) Cannabis use. Whether that use is in the form of CBD, restricted to medicinal use, or completely without consequence, America’s legislation is changing rapidly.

The legalization of Cannabis has been a slow, agonizing, and long-overdue struggle that has finally started to see some quantifiable traction. Finally, the taboo haze that has encircled the use of Cannabis is lifted. For the first time in a long time, lawmakers are representing what the people want and what science supports concerning benefits and safety.

Fortunately, it is apparent from rising trends that the new decade is going to be immersed in a wave of green, as more states loosen the reigns that have been unnecessarily stifling the Cannabis industry for generations.

Legalization is Sweeping the Nation

The new decade started with Illinois celebrating its June 2019 legalization victory and now, New Mexico is following suit. New Mexico’s governor, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, is currently pushing legalization.

Furthermore, US News reported on the turn of the decade, that there is strong legislative evidence five more states are rolling toward legalization before 2020 comes to a close.

While there are still some obvious hurtles throughout the different states, that include political as well as practical issues, legalization seems to be rising high throughout the country.

Entrepreneurial Success Supports Legalization

While people tend to steer clear of the monetary gain Cannabis legalization offers, the entrepreneurial crowd is not shy about the benefits. Statista claims that by 2020, the total number of jobs created by legalizing Cannabis is projected to exceed 283,422. This includes not only the production and sales of Cannabis but the marketing, economical predictions, influencer, and other niche job creation that would accompany any other industry.

Legalization is Giving People the Help they Need

The change in Cannabis laws has helped to promote the abundance of benefits Cannabis holds for people of all ages. Cannabis use has helped 71% of surveyed consumers as of 2018 either reduce (53%) or stop (18%) their over-the-counter pain treatment. This, especially for the older generation is an extremely positive statistic; giving those with chronic pain a healthier alternative to OTC pain medication.

Plus, for the younger generation, the survey concluded that 60% of participants have reduced (52%) or stopped (7%) their alcohol consumption.

Both statistics deliver major blows to pharmaceutical companies and the alcohol industry. These two industries collectively cost the U.S. economy over $600 billion every year due to addiction. Cutting down the number of people who partake or the amount they partake in these dangerous habits are not only a benefit to the individual but our whole society.

All this, in addition to the mounting public support, proves that 2020 promises greener pastures for Cannabis legislation.

 


Colette TozerJanuary 28, 2020
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5min90

Editors Note: You can follow all cannabis legislation for free under the Legislation tab found here.

2020 started with legislation siding entirely in favor of Cannabis throughout twelve states US (and the District of Columbia). Aside from full legalization, more than 75% of the United States of America have legalized (and decriminalized) Cannabis use. Whether that use is in the form of CBD, restricted to medicinal use, or completely without consequence, America’s legislation is changing rapidly.

The legalization of Cannabis has been a slow, agonizing, and long-overdue struggle that has finally started to see some quantifiable traction. Finally, the taboo haze that has encircled the use of Cannabis is lifted. For the first time in a long time, lawmakers are representing what the people want and what science supports concerning benefits and safety.

Fortunately, it is apparent from rising trends that the new decade is going to be immersed in a wave of green, as more states loosen the reigns that have been unnecessarily stifling the Cannabis industry for generations.

Legalization is Sweeping the Nation

The new decade started with Illinois celebrating its June 2019 legalization victory and now, New Mexico is following suit. New Mexico’s governor, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, is currently pushing legalization.

Furthermore, US News reported on the turn of the decade, that there is strong legislative evidence five more states are rolling toward legalization before 2020 comes to a close.

While there are still some obvious hurtles throughout the different states, that include political as well as practical issues, legalization seems to be rising high throughout the country.

Entrepreneurial Success Supports Legalization

While people tend to steer clear of the monetary gain Cannabis legalization offers, the entrepreneurial crowd is not shy about the benefits. Statista claims that by 2020, the total number of jobs created by legalizing Cannabis is projected to exceed 283,422. This includes not only the production and sales of Cannabis but the marketing, economical predictions, influencer, and other niche job creation that would accompany any other industry.

This is especially true for women. According to Fashion Magazine, women are thriving in the cannabis industry, as they make up 36% of those in executive positions. This is more than double what any other industry has to offer businesswomen.

Legalization is Giving People the Help they Need

The change in Cannabis laws has helped to promote the abundance of benefits Cannabis holds for people of all ages. Cannabis use has helped 71% of surveyed consumers as of 2018 either reduce (53%) or stop (18%) their over-the-counter pain treatment. This, especially for the older generation is an extremely positive statistic; giving those with chronic pain a healthier alternative to OTC pain medication.

Plus, for the younger generation, the survey concluded that 60% of participants have reduced (52%) or stopped (7%) their alcohol consumption.

Both statistics deliver major blows to pharmaceutical companies and the alcohol industry. These two industries collectively cost the U.S. economy over $600 billion every year due to addiction. Cutting down the number of people who partake or the amount they partake in these dangerous habits are not only a benefit to the individual but our whole society.

All this, in addition to the mounting public support, proves that 2020 promises greener pastures for Cannabis legislation.

 


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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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