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State Lawmakers Call For Federal Marijuana Legalization And Banking Reform

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recently voted to adopt a revised policy directive expressing support for federal marijuana descheduling and cannabis banking reform, reported Marijuana Moment.

The measure passed the organization’s 2022 legislative summit in a voice vote on Wednesday. A state lawmaker present at the event told Marijuana Moment that most of the discussion leading up to the vote focused on the need for federal banking reform. However, there was no debate on the language of legalization.

In 2017, NCSL passed a directive calling for the descheduling of cannabis, however, the most recent measure revised this year hinted that states should be able to set their own cannabis policies without federal intervention.

To amplify that position, NCSL members voted to include an explicit call for federal legalization. Added to the policy directive is another new section that pushes Congress to pass cannabis banking reform as well.

“Under federal law, cannabis businesses in states that have legalized the sale of cannabis are unable to utilize the country’s banking system, forcing them to operate as primarily cash-only entities,” stated the NCSL directive.

“This reliance on cash makes cannabis businesses prime targets for theft, burglary, armed robbery, and other property crimes. NCSL urges Congress to pass legislation allowing financial institutions to provide banking services to legitimate state-authorized cannabis-related businesses,” reads the directive.

This year’s summit, held in Denver, pointed to more explicit language in its support for congressional action to solve the problem. In addition, the summit involved an NCSL-organized visit to a Colorado cannabis cultivation facility, hosted by Columbia Care CCHWF

The group also hosted a panel focused on how lawmakers use data to develop state cannabis laws. To this end, the event featured a representative from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The policymaking process often provides opportunities to craft rules and regulations addressing common public health and safety concerns and measure data over time,” NCSL said in a summary document.

“The early involvement of state and local health officials brings a range of perspectives and expertise into the policymaking process, according to interviews. Early and more recently adopting states have looked to each other for examples of evolving policies and new ideas, creating an ever-changing policy landscape.” 

Photo: Courtesy of Rick Proctor On Unsplash

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