The first congressional hearing of 2020 on cannabis policy will take place on Wednesday, January 15. The hearing, entitled “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade,” will be held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health in Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building at 10 a.m. ET. Livestream will be available here.
The hearing is expected to explore the barriers to cannabis research, the health and social impacts of current federal cannabis policies and the implications of reform, as well as several pieces of cannabis-related legislation including the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act.
A broad coalition of groups representing state-legal cannabis businesses, including the National Cannabis Industry Association, Cannabis Trade Federation, Minority Cannabis Business Association, National Cannabis Roundtable, and Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce sent a letter to the subcommittee urging Congress to pass comprehensive legislation that would remove cannabis from the schedule of controlled substances and allow it to be effectively regulated at the federal level, as well as expressing support for a number of related policy issues. Several of these groups are also submitting testimony to the subcommittee for the hearing record.
“The cannabis industry is united in its desire to end the disastrous century-long experiment with prohibition and start enacting sensible policies focused on justice and health,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “Descheduling and regulation are the best ways to promote research, improve public safety, begin repairing the damage done by outdated laws, and help displace the unregulated underground cannabis market.”
“This hearing is one more sign that Congress is moving toward more sensible cannabis policy at the federal level. It cannot come soon enough,” said Neal Levine, CEO of the Cannabis Trade Federation. “The dichotomy between state and federal cannabis laws is untenable and the nation would benefit from the kinds of policies our organizations have endorsed in this joint letter.”
“Any federal cannabis regulatory framework must address the unique health concerns of people of color, women, and veterans without creating undue burdens on small businesses,” said Jason Ortiz, president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association. “We are confident congress can achieve this by putting social and economic justice at the center of any legalization legislation.”
“Bipartisan cannabis reform will unlock the full potential of our growing industry. Working together we can advance economic opportunity, patient access and social justice. We look forward to leveraging the knowledge and expertise of our members as Congress moves closer to addressing cannabis reform at the federal level,” said Saphira Galoob, executive director for the National Cannabis Roundtable.
“The Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce is proud to stand with industry partners for safe and sensible regulation of cannabis at the federal level,” said Randal John Meyer, executive director of the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce. “Descheduling cannabis and regulating its safe medical and adult use is exactly the kind of policy the federal government should be considering for ending cannabis prohibition.”
The MORE Act – which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, expunge federal marijuana convictions, and allocate funds to promote fair access to the cannabis industry and reinvestment in the communities that have been disproportionately harmed by prohibition – was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in November. This was the first time such legislation has received a vote in a House committee.
WHAT: House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing, “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade”
WHEN: Wednesday, January 15 at 10 a.m. ET
WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2123, 45 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C.
WHO: U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health
Matthew Strait, Drug Enforcement Administration
Douglas Throckmorton, Food and Drug Administration
Nora Volkow, National Institute on Drug Abuse