Senate Bill to End Cannabis Prohibition Introduced

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, with Senators Booker and Wyden, formally introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) to end federal marijuana prohibition. Initially, as a discussion draft in July 2021, the finalized version of this bill is now pending action in the United States Senate.

Summary of CAOA

CAOA removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act schedule entirely, ending the threat of federal prosecution for possession and licensed commercial activity, and allows states to implement their cannabis policies free from federal interference. The bill eliminates the many hurdles currently facing regulated state cannabis markets, including lack of access to financial services, the inability to deduct standard business expenses when filing federal taxes, and lack of uniform national regulatory standards and guidelines. The legislation also reinvests in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by prohibition, provides for the expungements of past criminal records, and would help improve diversity and inclusion in regulated cannabis markets.

What’s next?

The bill will further facilitate ongoing discussions at the federal level and in the coming weeks, lawmakers will begin holding hearings to discuss the specifics of the bill. While CAOA will be a focus of the debate at the federal level going forward this year, anticipate seeing renewed focus among members of Congress to agree upon bipartisan legislation that can pass both chambers and be signed into law, such as the SAFE Banking Act and the HOPE Act.

Expectations

Federal reforms must not unduly interfere with existing state regulatory policies, maintain taxation rates reasonable and low, and address the dire impact that America’s prohibitionist policies have had on people of color and marginalized communities around the country also supporting those who advocate and fight for these important principles. Beyond the halls of Congress, there is a real opportunity to legalize cannabis for adults in several states this fall. Without having to rely on our slow-to-respond elected officials and united the cannabis community can bring legalization to every single state in the union and finally bring federal prohibition crumbling down. These ballot measures will represent the best opportunity in 2022 to enact real, substantial change that will improve the lives of millions of individuals and add further pressure to change federal policy.

 

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Anthony Pena
Project Management Coordinator Intern

Anthony was born in Bronx, NY. He grew up with the indelible mindset that an individual only deserves what he or she works for and a person was only as good as their word. It would be no surprise that with solid core values to guide Anthony that a young “Canasuer” would excel at literally any venture he pursued.

Intrigued by music, he saw the one-time student of legacy cannabis go on to excel as a top-rated hospitality and event promoter whose passion for hosting popular VIP events that connect politicians, chefs, doctors, influencers, athletes and creative artists with each other and would lead to him realizing his first dream of liberating and assisting those affected most by the War on Drugs. Convinced that legal marijuana can change the economic trajectory for people of color globally is why I work so tirelessly on the massive opportunities that the cannabis industry has to offer. As a catalyst for economic growth within the “black" and “brown" community is the badge of honor so proudly worn by a one of a kind human.

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