Various national cannabis activist groups and trade organizations have submitted formal comments on the draft of the latest federal initiative on cannabis reform, many of which emphasize the need for interstate commerce and lower taxes. The written comments, which were due to the U.S. Senate last week, include more than 150 pages of feedback on the comprehensive reform measure that’s being spearheaded by Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Cory Booker along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The bill, dubbed the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, would legalize cannabis on a federal basis by allowing states to continue deciding whether to allow or prohibit cannabis commercial sales and remove the substance from the Controlled Substances Act.
While each group’s comments were in support of the legislation at the macro level, all of them had policy concerns. In a letter to senators, the state policy director of the Marijuana Policy Project Karen O’Keefe stated that the bill’s regulatory aspects needed considerable revision and clarification to avoid consequences that would derail the work states across the country had done so far.
Below are some highlights from the submitted comments.
- In its 41-page letter, the United States Cannabis Council suggested that the federal cannabis regulatory duties be divided between the Treasury Department and the FDA. The council also recommended that a new taxing model for federal cannabis taxes be established.
- The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws stated that the measure should minimize market disruption by balancing the regulatory roles of federal agencies, exempt medical cannabis markets from the proposed federal excise tax, decrease regulatory and tax burdens and strengthen civic protections for cannabis consumers.
- The National Cannabis Industry Association advised against the taxes proposed in the measure as they would increase compliance costs, create barriers to interstate commerce and make it harder for small businesses to grow through vertical integration.
- In its 12-page letter, the Marijuana Policy Project stated that the bill didn’t right the wrongs done to cannabis consumers in the past or protect current cannabis users. The group also called for legislators to slowly ease into a new federally regulated system to avoid driving the market for marijuana products back underground.
- The Global Alliance of Cannabis Commerce suggested that interstate commerce for existing state-legal cannabis firms be authorized and highlighted the need for federal funding for programs that offer technical assistance and capital to disadvantaged entrepreneurs and small firms.
If cannabis is eventually legalized at the federal level, the entire industry, including companies such as Hero Technologies Inc. (OTC: HENC), may have fewer regulatory inconsistencies between federal policy and state laws to navigate.
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