While America’s state legal cannabis industry has grown steadily, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and generating billions in revenue, federal law still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance. President Joseph Biden has said that, while he supports medical marijuana and giving states the ability to decide how to treat cannabis themselves, he is not behind federal legalization of recreational cannabis. Even though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that he is working on federal cannabis legislation and will advance it with or without the president’s support, the Democrats’ window for passing federal cannabis reform is closing.
Consequently, a bipartisan coalition of advocacy groups and businesses has issued a white paper urging the federal government to legalize recreational cannabis. The 14-page white paper, published last week by the Cannabis Freedom Alliance, expressed the group’s frustration with President Biden’s stance on cannabis, which was recently witnessed after sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was excluded from the U.S. Olympics team for using cannabis. Richardson, who reportedly used cannabis in Oregon, which allows adult use, was expelled from the team when her drug tests came back positive for cannabis.
Regarding the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to invalidate the results of her 100 meter run at the Olympic trials and suspend Richardson for 30 days, Biden says “rules are rules,” adding that the question of the rules being changed is an altogether different subject. However, the inconsistencies between state and federal law, points out executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance Kassandra Frederique, leave people such as Richardson “stuck in the middle,” having to decipher unclear rules and often suffering the consequences for life.
The Cannabis Freedom Alliance advises removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act to resolve the issues caused by the inconsistencies between state and federal cannabis law. According to the white paper, the alliance hopes to establish a comprehensive regulatory structure that focuses on research, innovation and public safety; give the victims of the drug war, especially those with nonviolent cannabis related charges, a leg up in the legal market; and ensure the market has minimal barriers to entry, allowing both entrepreneurs and large companies an equal chance.
The coalition would also like to keep the tax burden on the cannabis market low to prevent customers from going to the illicit market for lower-priced products. This would deal the criminal enterprises behind the black market a major financial blow while ensuring the growth of the legal industry. Formed in April, the Cannabis Freedom Alliance includes the Global Alliance of Cannabis Commerce, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Libertarian think tank Reason Foundation, criminal justice reform initiative Mission Green and Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by the Koch family.
The voices calling for federal marijuana policy reform are growing louder, and any reforms in that direction would greatly ease the regulatory and legal tightrope that cannabis sector players, such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF), have to walk as they adhere to enabling laws at state level while being aware of the prohibition at the federal level.
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