A new coalition of top North American cannabis firms, advocacy and trade groups are joining forces to create a unified message on Captiol Hill, as U.S. lawmakers get set to introduce a bill that would end federal prohibition.
On Monday, the U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC) was launched with founding members including major industry players like Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX: WEED) and Massachusetts-based Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CURA).
The non-profit organization says it will work with Washington D.C. lawmakers to advance weed laws, and create fair regulations that promote social equity and racial justice.
“USCC is a unified voice advocating for the descheduling and legalization of cannabis,” said USCC Interim CEO Steven Hawkins in a statement. “Legalization at both the state and federal level must include provisions ensuring social equity and redress for harms caused to communities impacted by cannabis prohibition,” added Hawkins, who’s also executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.
I'm thrilled to be serving as the Interim CEO of the US Cannabis Council! Only through unity can we accomplish the end of federal prohibition and ensure there is social equity. https://t.co/Dvm5lfF5qd
— Steven W Hawkins (@StevenWHawkins) February 8, 2021
Last week, three top Democratic lawmakers said they would release a unified discussion draft on major weed reform early this year.
Senators Cory Booker, Ron Wyden and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that their goal is to decriminalize weed this year to “ensure restorative justice, protect public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations.”
The Marijuana Policy Project told Mugglehead that unity has never been so strong in the last several weeks between federal lawmakers and other long-serving legalization advocacy groups, industry lobbyists, national groups and umbrella organizations.
In a recent tweet, Schumer said the Senators held a meeting Friday with major advocacy groups, including the USCC, to discuss ending federal cannabis prohibition.
Thank you to @NORML, @DrugPolicyOrg, @CivilRightsOrg, @ACLU, @MinCannBusAssoc, and so many more for your work to end the federal prohibition on marijuana, make criminal justice reforms, and ensure equity for communities—especially those of color—impacted by the War on Drugs!
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 6, 2021
But long-time advocacy organizations including NORML and Drug Policy Alliance are noticeably absent from the list of USCC’s founding members.
NORML has a history of calling out industry influence in the legalization movement, citing rampant greed in the emerging multi-billion dollar weed sector.
However, the USCC says for every five board appointments, it will reserve one additional board seat for members representing diversity, equity and environmental concerns.
Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who founded and co-chairs the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, says it takes teamwork to secure the biggest wins on reform.
“That’s why I am glad to see this first-of-its-kind alliance,” he said in the statement. “We have a unique opportunity in the 117th Congress to advance cannabis reform, but we must remain united to create the change we know is possible.”
Founding members of the U.S. Cannabis Council include:
- Acreage Holdings
- Akerna Corp.
- American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp
- Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine
- BellRock Brands
- Buckeye Relief
- Cannabis Trade Federation
- Canopy Growth Corporation
- Columbia Care Inc.
- Cresco Labs Inc.
- Cronos Group
- DNA Genetics
- Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce
- Good Chemistry
- The Grove Cannabis Dispensary
- Headcount’s Cannabis Voter Project
- Husch Blackwell
- iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc.
- Keef Brands
- LivWell Enlightened Health
- Marijuana Policy Project
- Medicine Man
- Native Roots Cannabis Co.
- 1906 New Highs
- PAX Labs
- Raw Garden
- Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
- Urbn Leaf
- Veterans Cannabis Project
- Vicente Sederberg LLP
Top image of U.S. Capitol Building by Anthony Quintano via Flickr Commons