A New Report Reveals Threatening Flaws in Proposed Federal Cannabis Bills

A New Report Reveals Threatening Flaws in Proposed Federal Cannabis Bills

A recent report has shown that most of the suggested Federal Cannabis Bills have flaws that could threaten the progress of the legal marijuana industry. Despite having several federal marijuana legalization initiatives and support from people and leaders, oversights could imperil the cannabis market. 

The increased interest by lawmakers to develop a federal cannabis legalization bill does not come as a surprise, with marijuana gaining more acceptance in recent years. 

More than three dozen states and territories in the United States have legalized cannabis in some form. 

A new report indicated that more than 90 percent of Americans support the legalization of cannabis either for medical or recreational consumption. Furthermore, the plant’s approval has grown immensely worldwide since the start of this decade. 

Due to this spike in demand for legal marijuana, states are proposing increasingly strong policies shaping the future of a lawful market. 

For instance, New York Governor Kathy Hochul looks to implement a considerable social equity fund for the state’s emerging legal cannabis market. 

Doing this will promote diversity within the industry, with the $200 million funding going to grants and loans to help minority-owned businesses. 

Although this trajectory would promote the growth and diversity of cannabis markets within states, the progress has stalled at the federal level. 

While there may be several federal marijuana legalization initiatives before Congress, they have underlying flaws that could be detrimental to the budding legal market. 

These pending bills fail to address one critical factor that can change everything, the Dormant Commerce Clause (DCC). 

Essentially, the DCC is a legal tenet that bars states from legislating guidelines that discriminate against interstate commerce. 

Due to the federal prohibition of marijuana in previous years, lawmakers in several states have foregone the DCC and adopted regulatory programs that benefit the local marijuana industry. 

For this reason, without any action from Congress to pause the DCC upon federal legalization, many essential policies and social equity programs that current businesses rely on will become void in a flash. 

Currently, both the Democrat-led Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act and Republican-led States Reform Act fail to address the chaos the DCC will cause after federal legalization. 

For Congress to rectify the mistakes caused by the war on drugs, it must first pause the DCC and create clear guidelines that define the roles and responsibilities of states. 

With the trends expected in the cannabis industry this year, now is the best time for Congress to draft a bill that would serve as a guide for the coming months. Still, to ensure the bill doesn’t discriminate against small businesses, it should be centered on equity, justice, and community reinvestment. 

For this reason, Congress must ensure it takes the correct steps when pushing forward to avoid patchwork later on. Any federal legalization bill that triggers the DCC can be detrimental to public health and safety, not to mention risk ruining years of work due to the inevitable regulatory discrepancies. 

Therefore, Congress must outline a balance of power between federal and state regulations to avoid years of back and forth.

To get a scope of how these bills could cause widespread confusion, we can examine how Congress de-scheduled hemp and its derivatives. 

After passing the legislation, customers had no reliable information on purity or the products they intended to purchase. 

Moreover, hemp-derived cannabinoid products were available at gas stations without proper age verification or product testing. 

Therefore, to get this right, Congress must retain state regulations and laws until the federal government clears things up on the DCC issue. 

Doing this will leave the crucial regulatory authority in the hands of state officials, allowing them to allocate taxes properly and continue with their efforts to develop proper social equity programs. 

Without upholding these initiatives, the federal legalization of cannabis will harm the same communities that have marijuaa prohibition and the war on drugs have torn down. 

Furthermore, states need to avoid capping the number of marijuana business licenses to stop corporate giants from monopolizing the cannabis industry. Instead, federal and state legislation should have reasonable limits on the market size that any particular business can control. 

Also, Congress must stop revoking licenses based on drug charges and allow such individuals to open legal cannabis shops with access to dispensary supplies and other cannabis amenities. Instead, Congress should focus on disqualifying people who commit corporate crimes like fraud.

For Congress to protect disadvantaged communities, small and large businesses alike, and consumers, it needs to replicate and incentivize what has worked on the state level. 

The retention of principal state regulatory authorities and social equity programs will help set a roadmap for the federal legalization of marijuana.

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