A coalition of attorneys general from different states has written a letter to the leaders of Congress regarding cannabis legislation. The letter calls on elected officials to keep in mind the need to let individual states determine whether or not to legalize marijuana while at the same time creating a regulatory framework through which public health and other concerns will be addressed.
The attorneys general were from both sides of the political divide. From the camp of the Democrats, Connecticut’s AG William Tong and Vermont’s AG T.J. Donovan signed the letter. The Republican side of the aisle had Arizona AG Mark Brnovich and North Dakota AG Wayne Stenehgem signing the letter. The letter from these four attorneys general was prompted by a request from Chuck Schumer (the Majority Leader of senate), Ron Wayden and Cory Booker (both key senators) for feedback about a draft bill seeking to legalize marijuana federally.
The four leading law-enforcement officers emphasized the need for a policy change that enhances a partnership between the federal government and individual states on matters of regulating the cannabis industry. Such cooperation must have public safety and health at its core while staying clear of undue interference in the state-level cannabis markets, the AGs state.
It is worth noting that the bipartisan AGs are neither in support nor opposed to the draft legalization bill to which they responded in writing. Rather, they wanted to draw attention to the urgent need to strengthen the partnership between the federal government and state governments in order to provide oversight on marijuana-derived products and the marijuana sector in general. This oversight is already badly needed, the attorneys general say.
The AGs added that in the past two decades, numerous states have enacted laws permitting medical or recreational marijuana and many more states seem poised to do the same in the years to come. In their view, such a growing marijuana market should not be left to oversee itself, and they argue that the best way to move forward is to form a cooperative partnership through which states and the federal government work together to ensure that consumer protection is implemented.
In their letter, the four attorneys general also indicate that if the federal government ever opts to legalize marijuana, such a policy shift must be accompanied by a regulatory framework that doesn’t leave any gray areas that can create a regulatory vacuum. In addition, care needs to be taken when designing that regulatory framework so that neither overregulation nor underregulation is allowed to exist. The federal policy has to recognize what has so far been done by individual states with regards to marijuana policy change, and the right to determine state-level cannabis policy should be left intact in what the AGs term “cooperative federalism.”
It should be remembered that several proposals besides the draft law championed by Schumer are being considered, including one that is Republican led. It would be great for the cannabis industry, including entities such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC), if the legislators agree to a legalization plan that is signed into law.
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