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Activists Submit Revisions to Federal Cannabis Legalization Measure to Prevent “Corporate Cannabis”


Cannabis News Update June 21, 2021

Today in cannabis news: A second ballot measure on cannabis legalization in Florida is struck down by the state’s Supreme Court; a recent survey indicates that the majority of Americans favor decriminalizing all drugs; and Cannabis equity activists submit revisions to the federal cannabis legalization proposal to prevent “Corporate Cannabis.”

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** First up: A cannabis legalization ballot measure in Florida was again struck down by the state’s Supreme Court, with a plurality of judges saying the measure’s wording is “misleading.” This is the court’s second decision this year to strike down a voter proposal that would have formed a controlled statewide cannabis industry.

The decision was rendered mainly on the statutory challenge of an individual phrase, like in the previous instance. The phrase “limited use” is used in the proposal’s text to describe actions that would be legalized for adults 21 years or older. However, the court ruled that the proposal is flawed because additional wording in the whole document deems it “affirmatively misleading.”

This all indicates that, regardless of the fact that both initiatives supporting these measures made great progress in gathering signatures to be eligible for a vote in 2022, the prospects of cannabis legislation being on the ballot in Florida have now decreased substantially.

** Next up: President Richard Nixon’s War on Drugs, which began on June 17, 1971, has decimated neighborhoods, increased structural racism, and led the United States to the globe’s largest prison population. That “war” has failed while doing little to stop addictions or the scourge of overdose deaths. Furthermore, these destabilizing imprisonment tactics are not popular with the American public.

According to a recent nationwide survey conducted by Data for Progress and The Lab, over 7 out of 10 people (71%) agree that U.S. federal drug laws are ineffective and that policy reformation is imperative. The electorate does not want public health concerns such as drug consumption and addictions to be treated as criminal issues. Instead, they favor decriminalizing drug possession, with 59% approval, and small-scale drug distribution, with 55% approval, as well as transferring drug regulatory authority from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Department of Health and Human Services, with 60% approval.

Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Cori Bush (D-MO) unveiled the Drug Policy Reform Act (DPRA) last week, which includes many of these reformations. The DPRA would remove imprisonment as a consequence for drug possession, retrospectively erase possession charges, invest in alternate harm minimization programs, and give DHS drug categorization authority.

** Last up: Organizations for civil rights are striving for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives this month on a proposal to federally legalize cannabis, however some advocates with expertise in state-level cannabis legislation are now calling for updates to the measure to guarantee that the industry is inclusive and that those most affected by criminalization can profit from the legal market.

They claim that without changes to the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, licensed cannabis commerce will be taken up by a small number of giant corporations, “putting most small cultivators and retailers out of business.”

To establish equity, activists argue that a discussion about how to keep major corporations, particularly Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol, from market dominance once federal prohibition is abolished is essential. There’s an urgency about addressing that part of the policy, with the Amazon corporation, for instance, now campaigning in support of the MORE Act.

The MORE Act’s backers “deserve full credit for their determination to address” equity policy efforts, according to the Parabola Center’s overview of the suggested revisions, however it raises doubt that the federal government is prepared to monitor and regulate a nationwide cannabis industry, recognizing that its “experience with cannabis until now has been exclusively limited to interdiction and prosecution predominantly targeting Black and Latino communities.”


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