Last week, a legislation to promote social equity in the cannabis industry and federally legalize cannabis was tabled in the House. The bill was filed with some amendments and was sponsored by Jerrold Nadler, chair of the Judiciary Committee.
The legislation would establish a federal tax on cannabis with revenue generated being allocated to support various programs and community reinvestment, allow individuals with marijuana convictions to have their records expunged, and remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act (“MORE”), which didn’t advance in the Senate during the last legislative term, was approved in the House. Despite this, cannabis advocates are hopeful that the change in policy can be enacted now that Democrats run the White House and both chambers, and as more states are legalizing the plant.
Nadler stated that since he introduced the MORE Act, various states in the country, including New York, have legalized cannabis. He added that he was proud to introduce the act to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, invest in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the drug war and remove the burden of cannabis convictions on the country’s citizens.
Some of the new initiative’s language was amended to extend to job training, financial literacy programs and loans under the SBA Aid (Small Business Administration) to assist individuals who have been affected by the drug war to pursue business opportunities in every industry, including the marijuana industry.
Apart from this, major provisions in the initiative remain unchanged, including preventing federal agencies from refusing to provide security clearance and public benefits to immigrants, protecting immigrants from being denied citizenship over marijuana and establishing a pathway for resentencing for individuals who’ve been incarcerated for cannabis offenses.
DPA Office of National Affairs director Maritza Perez stated that it was clear that the House understood the urgency of this social justice and racial issue. She added that the communities that had been the most affected by cannabis prohibition had waited a long time for justice.
Concurrently, Senate leadership is making preparations to introduce another reform initiative that will have similar goals. Sen. Cory Booker, chair of the Senate Finance Committee Ron Wyden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have been working on the measure for some time now. Wyden recently revealed that it would be introduced soon.
Earlier in March, Schumer noted that their proposal would seek to limit the ability of large tobacco and alcohol companies from overtaking the industry, while also prioritizing small businesses and in particular, those owned by individuals from communities that have been affected the most by marijuana prohibition.
If this effort to get cannabis federally legalized succeeds, the creation of nearly uniform cannabis laws across the country would be a great help to all sector players, including Sonoma Biologics Corp., as the market they can serve increases.
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