Democratic Senators Unveil Major Cannabis Reform Proposal: Week in Review
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Democratic Senators Unveil Major Cannabis Reform Proposal: Week in Review

Is this bill the one that might push the federal government into a new era of cannabis approval?

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July 17, 2021

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., hinted earlier this year that some sort of “comprehensive” cannabis reform legislation was coming. The country had a newly inaugurated president, although his stance on cannabis wasn’t the most promising. But still, just by looking at the wave of state-by-state legalization unfolding in late 2020 and early 2021, it certainly seemed like momentum was (and is) on the side of cannabis.

Then, this past week, the senators unveiled their proposal. The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act builds on earlier attempts at wholesale reform (The Marijuana Justice Act, The MORE Act) by combining a hands-off, back-to-the-states policy on regulation with a high-stakes insistence on diversity and social equity across this industry. It will be imperative, the senators suggested, for any legislation coming out of Congress to deal with the problems of the war on drugs head-on.

It remains to be seen whether the senatorial trio’s colleagues will get the message.

That said, we’ve rounded up some of the key cannabis headlines from the week right here.

  • The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act has arrived in Washington, D.C. What now? Read more 
  • “More than 400 law enforcement personnel from city, county, state and federal agencies seized $1.2 billion of illegal cannabis harvests and plants in Southern California during a 10-day eradication operation resulting in 131 arrests last month.” Associate Editor Tony Lange has the story. Read more 
  • Senior Digital Editor Melissa Schiller reports on the opening of Planet 13’s Santa Ana, Calif., dispensary. Read more 
  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced July 15 that a series of lotteries to award the licenses are planned for later this month and August. Read more 
  • U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen has led a group of her colleagues to submit a letter to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee requesting that cannabis businesses gain access to Small Business Administration loans. Read more 

And elsewhere on the web, here are the stories we’ve been reading this week:

  • CBS4Local: Las Crusces, N.M., residents “will have multiple opportunities to weigh in on how the City of Las Cruces will manage land use and zoning related to cannabis growers and retailers now that the New Mexico Legislature has legalized cannabis for recreational use.” Read more 
  • OPB: “Sen. Ron Wyden looks to Oregon’s cannabis industry to lead the way in showing the rest of the nation what ‘cannabis common sense’ looks like. Read more 
  • NBC News: “Women are turning to cannabis in droves, constituting 59 percent of new cannabis users in 2020, according to research conducted by Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research company.” Read more 
  • WKBW: “The city of Jamestown is launching a new initiative aimed at bringing the commercial cannabis business into the city and it could generate millions of dollars in tax revenues.” Read more 
  • Santa Monica Mirror: CPC Compassion Inc plans to open the first medical cannabis dispensary in Santa Monica in December 2021 if approved by the Planning Commission. Read more