On the heels of New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introducing the “Marijuana Justice Act” to repeal cannabis prohibition, the National Conference of State Legislatures has joined the call for legalization, urging the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances. This is the second year in a row that the NCSL has passed such a resolution. It is a sign of the growing support for legalization and the fact that state governments are facing serious complications fully following the will of their voters due to federal law. The people and state legislatures want to end cannabis prohibition, when will Congress act on the needs of their constituents.
Poll after poll shows that the number of marijuana prohibitionists are shrinking greatly in our nation. A majority of voters want to legalize cannabis for all adults, while a supermajority of voters support medical use and want the federal government to allow states to implement their own cannabis laws. Unfortunately, by keeping marijuana as a Schedule I substance, Uncle Sam puts our communities at greater risk by forcing cannabis businesses to keep too much cash on hand by denying banking access while placing too many obstacles in front of researchers hoping to fully unlock the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant.
Despite elected officials lagging behind voters, the cannabis community has made positive strides in recent years at the federal level. The provision prohibiting the use of federal funds to prosecute state-legal medical cannabis providers, now known as the Rohrbacher-Blumenauer Amendment, first passed back in 2014 and a similar proposal for recreational busin
esses as well, failed to pass by just a handful of votes last year.
While it is very unlikely that Booker’s legalization bill will pass this legislative session (especially if Jeff Session remains Donald Trump’s Attorney General), we have seen support and progress for sensible cannabis laws only increase, at both the state and federal levels. I look forward into discussing the present and future of cannabis laws at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Hawaii this December as advocates from across the nation, and globe, will converge upon beautiful Kauai. The ICBC will have those that have been on the front lines of business and politics, with experienced legislators, lawyers, lobbyists and policymakers to discuss how best to succeed in business, and most importantly, best continue our momentum to end federal cannabis prohibition.