Federal Cannabis Regulations Working Group Releases its Principles for Federal Cannabis Regulations and Reform

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 20, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – The Federal Cannabis Regulations Working Group
released its Principles for FederalCannabis Regulations and Reform, outlining what a federal
regulatory framework—grounded in justice and social equity—should look like.
The working group was convened by the Drug PolicyAlliance at the beginning of this year.

Throughout a series
of meetings and in-depth conversations, the group—made up of cannabis
state regulators, public health professionals, criminal justice reform
advocates, civil rights attorneys, people working with directly impacted
communities in the cannabis industry, re-entry advocates, academics and an
expert involved in Canada’s cannabis regulation—has identified key principles
that should guide the development of federal cannabis regulation policies. The
principles document encourages and provides guidance on issues related to
racial justice, equity, preventing underage use, elimination of lifelong
consequences, medical use, taxation, research and more. This release precedes
the group’s continued effort to develop and roll out a more comprehensive set
of recommendations for Congress on crucial issues such as—but not limited to—which
federal agency should regulate cannabis (and to what extent), what kind of
product should cannabis be regulated as, expungement, workforce development,
medical use, non-commercial activity, and enforcement.

« As we
get closer to federal marijuana legalization being a reality in the United
States, it’s more urgent than ever before to create a regulatory framework that
both comprehensively addresses the harms of prohibition and ensures just and
equitable future outcomes, » said Queen Adesuyi, policy manager for the Drug Policy
Alliance’s Office of National Affairs.

« We have
already seen the way industry is jockeying for the opportunity to regulate
themselves, and it is critical that advocates—who are representing the interest
of those who have been most impacted by prohibition, and those who are in the
best position to prevent future harms—set the agenda for how federal cannabis
regulation should work,” Adesuyi said. “The legal cannabis
industry offers an opportunity to encourage and build out an emerging
marketplace that is intentionally accessible to Black, Latinx, indigenous and
working-class entrepreneurs as well as legacy operators that have borne the
brunt of prohibition. « 

While the MarijuanaOpportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, passed by the House last session, addressed the impacts of criminalization in a
comprehensive way, in its original form it did not address regulation. These
recommendations intend to close that loop, and to prevent unintended and
problematic language from getting added to the bill asit did prior to being passed out of the House last year.

The principles emerged from several thorough and informed
conversations held by the core group members of the Federal Cannabis
Regulations Working Group. The group continues to meet and formulate further
recommendations that will be offered to Congress, namely to Sens. Cory Booker, Ron
Wyden and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who plan to take on regulations in the
next iteration of the MORE Act. The group’s recommendations will be vetted by a
lengthy list of subject matter experts across sectors and issue areas,
including medical doctors, academics, researchers, immigration attorneys, labor
law experts, directly impacted individuals and leaders, and more.

Shaleen
Title, Esq., The Ohio State University College of Law Distinguished Cannabis
Practitioner in Residence and former Massachusetts Cannabis Control
Commissioner:

“When decision makers agree with voters on the goals for
cannabis policy—such as preventing big tobacco from taking over the cannabis
industry—that’s only step one. In my experience as a regulator, the goal of
protecting and encouraging small businesses proved especially difficult to
implement partly because those businesses don’t have an army of lobbyists,
lawyers and other paid representatives offering to develop technical policies
on their behalf. Big corporations have the most ‘advocates.’ From my
perspective, the key aspect of a good federal legalization bill is to limit
domination of the market by big corporations to allow for the support of small
businesses, social equity programs and alternative ownership models such as
cooperatives. I appreciate the opportunity to team up on this with everyone in
the Federal Cannabis Regulations Working Group.”

Eliana
Green, Esq., Equal Justice Works Fellow, Root and Rebound Reentry Advocates:

“Root and Rebound is grateful for the opportunity to contribute
our expertise to the Federal Cannabis Regulations Working Group. As a national
reentry legal services organization, we see the disastrous, often lifelong
consequences of the war on drugs every day in the experiences of the individual
clients and communities we serve. As radical optimists, we are part of a broad
movement for racial and gender equity, justice, collective liberation and
intergenerational healing. We are hopeful that by listening to and taking
direction from people with conviction histories, Congress will produce
legislation that addresses the devastating past and current harms of the war on
drugs, while ensuring future generations can live their lives, pursue their
dreams and reach their full potential free from persecution and oppression.”

Dr.
Rachel Knox, Co-founder and Chair, Association for Cannabis Health Equity and
Medicine; Board member for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation:

“The Federal Cannabis Regulations Working Group embraces
holistic cannabis policy reform, advocating for federal regulation that is not
only comprehensive and rational, but impactful and centered in health equity—ensuring
that all aspects of legalization and regulation improve access to wellbeing in
the communities most negatively impacted by prohibition. The Association for
Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine (ACHEM) and Doctors for Cannabis Regulation
(DFCR) are honored to participate in this process, and, as seasoned medical
professionals in cannabis, cannabinoid medicine and endocannabinology, our hope
is for Congress to pass legislation that frames regulation around opportunity,
institutional and public reeducation, research, restitution, and safe access to
cannabis and cannabinoid products tested for consistency and purity—labeled
with information on potency, responsible consumption and health warnings for
vulnerable populations—and to resources and long-overdue support from the
medical community.”

Daniel Bear, Professor with the Criminal Justice Degree Program at
Humber College in Toronto:

“Canada was the first G20 country to legalize cannabis
and has shown that legal access can create a vibrant and safe cannabis market.
But Canada didn’t get everything right. We focused on creating successful
businesses but left out the legacy market. We focused on public health
principles but didn’t build a system that met the needs of regular consumers.
We recognized the harm prohibition had caused but haven’t worked to rectify
that harm quickly enough. The U.S. has a great opportunity to build upon
Canada’s initial foray and launch a just, safe and equitable cannabis market
from the start.”

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