The Cannabis Wire Daily newsletter is sent to subscribers every weekday morning at 7 a.m. Excerpts are published here later in the day. Don’t miss the full picture. Subscribe now.
Schumer seeks input on federal cannabis reform from colleagues in Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a “Dear Colleagues” letter on Thursday, asking specifically for feedback on his Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.
Schumer and Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden released the discussion draft of their federal cannabis law reform proposal last July, asking the public for input on how legalization might unfold in America. That window closed in September, and while the 1,800 plus comments have not been released, some people and groups have chosen to make their comments public.
Since then, Schumer has been trying to restart the CAO Act engine. On Feb. 4, he held a press conference in Manhattan with New York lawmakers, making his pitch to Congress that federal cannabis law reform should be justice-centered, like in the Big Apple.
On Thursday, Schumer asked for specific input from chairs and ranking members of relevant committees, as well as from senators who have “dealt with the challenges and realities of legalization in their own states.”
“This issue, which we believe the Senate is long overdue in addressing, has implications across many areas of American politics and policy,” Schumer wrote. “We would deeply appreciate your willingness to share your expertise on the intersections between your committees’ jurisdictions, your states’ experiences, and comprehensive cannabis reform and invite you to join the process of perfecting this legislation.”
Many pockets of the cannabis industry have grown inpatient with Schumer, because while he’s said that he “can set priorities,” federal cannabis legislation has, at best, spun its tires.
There’s no definitive timeline for the CAO Act, except that Schumer noted that “in the weeks ahead, we will continue the work of incorporating these comments as we aim to introduce legislation soon that is as comprehensive and as reflective of as many relevant views and voices as possible.”
Rep. Nancy Mace, who introduced the States Reform Act, a sort of GOP response to CAO Act, took to Twitter, writing: “Love to meet with you, Senator Schumer! My people are calling your people, let’s chat.”
Hemp Advancement Act of 2022 is introduced in Congress.
The bill, crafted by Rep. Chellie Pingree, would address the U.S. hemp industry’s top concerns, from testing requirements to those for transportation. It would, for example: allow “in-process” hemp to contain 1% THC, up from .3%; lift the requirement that testing labs be DEA registered; lift the ban on individuals with felonies holding a hemp license.
“The 2018 Farm Bill laid a legal pathway for hemp production but created overly complicated regulations and hardship for farmers and small businesses in the process. I am introducing the Hemp Advancement Act of 2022 to eliminate unworkable testing requirements, set reasonable THC thresholds for producers and processors while protecting consumers, and end the discriminatory policy that bans people with drug convictions from growing legal hemp,” said Pingree in the announcement.
“My bill takes a commonsense, straightforward approach to correct these unintended implementation problems and works to make the hemp industry more profitable and more equitable. My bill also provides a clear path forward for this industry and will support a thriving hemp economy.”
Former NORML lobbyist launches cannabis PAC.
Justin Strekal, who was a lobbyist with NORML for about five years until he left last month, has launched his own cannabis PAC. It’s called the Better Organizing to Win Legalization Political Action Committee, or, the BOWL PAC.
The PAC’s co-founder is Craig Johnson, who founded Unfiltered.Media, which lists Strekal as a “partner” on its site as well.
“I have long seen the cannabis reform movement leave power on the table when it comes to harnessing the ability to use digital organizing tools to advance public policy reforms at the federal level. Working with allies and leveraging cutting edge practices in digital communications, BOWL PAC will fill that void,” said Johnson in the announcement.