Cannabis legalization is sweeping across states of America but it’s still at a stand-still at a federal level. Nearly 50 years after the Shafer Report that called for decriminalization was publicly released, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug.
Attitudes surrounding cannabis are shifting for the better, whether it’s surrounding the need for serious criminal justice reform or the economic benefits it could provide. On June 23rd, a group of state cannabis regulators had a meeting with the federal elected officials to discuss nationwide legalization and policy changes that could use input from local leaders.
Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA) is made up of members from states with established legal cannabis markets. Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chairs Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio attended the meeting with CANNRA members, along with representatives from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Drug Administration and Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
The main topic that was discussed was the need to protect banks that provide services to cannabis companies in states where marijuana is legal. Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s executive director Andrew Brisbo told Marijuana Moment that lawmakers were “very receptive” throughout the meeting.
“One particular thing we want to ensure is that there’s consideration for existing state frameworks,” Brisbo said. “There’s been a lot of time and investment and engagement with stakeholders in the various states that have legalized in their specific frameworks—and there are some differences, and those things aren’t necessarily accidents.”
While Senate members are set to release their legalization bill, CANNRA sent a letter to congressional leaders earlier this year explaining a few priority policies that should be considered. The letter explained the need to focus on the impact that decriminalization would have on states that have already ended prohibition and the potential issues that could arise. Largely, providing cannabis businesses with banking protection and social and economic equity in the legal markets.