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Mexican Supreme Court Extends Deadline To Legalize Marijuana As Lawmakers Continue To Advance Bill

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The Mexican Supreme Court has again agreed to extend the deadline for lawmakers to legalize marijuana nationally, even as Senate-passed reform legislation advanced this week through at least two Chamber of Deputies committees.

This is just the latest extension the court has approved since it deemed the prohibition on personal use and cultivation of cannabis unconstitutional in 2018 and mandated that Congress end the policy. The Senate passed the legalization bill last month ahead of the earlier December 15 deadline.

But now the court says legislators have until the end of the next session, which starts in February and ends April 30, to enact the reform. This is the fourth deadline the body has imposed. First it was October 2019, then April 2020, then December 2020 and now April 2021.

Overall, the bill would establish a regulated cannabis market, allowing adults 18 and older to purchase and possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.

Leaders in the Chamber of Deputies said they needed the postponement to further review the Senate-passed legislation. However, that hasn’t stopped several committees from taking up the bill, with the Human Rights and Budget and Public Account Committees having already considered and advanced it in recent days just before the new deadline extension request.

In her request for the deadline extension, Chamber President Dulce Mar铆a Sauri Riancho stressed the “complexity of the issue at hand” and added that the coronavirus pandemic “has made it difficult for the legislative process” to move forward “with the depth and care” needed to address the seriousness of the cannabis issue.

“This Chamber of Deputies has been forced to implement extraordinary measures to protect the right to health and life of legislators and other public servants,” she wrote, “which has inevitably affected the work of the committees and of the plenary sessions.”

While advocates are eager for Congress to formally end prohibition, this new delay will give them more time to try to convince legislators to address their concerns about certain provisions of the current bill, namely the limited nature of its social equity components and strict penalties for violating rules.

“It’s disappointing that the two legislative bodies couldn’t have better coordinated their work in order to ensure that they meet the obligation and the deadline made by the Supreme Court,” Zara Snapp, a legalization activist with the Instituto RIA and the coalition #RegulacionPorLaPaz, told Marijuana Moment.

“Since that didn’t happen, we hope that as they work on this in the next legislative session, they will ensure that human rights are at the center as well as improve and expand the opportunities for communities affected by prohibition,” she said, adding that it would be a shame if any additional revisions further benefited transnational corporations instead of local farmers.

There were several revisions made in the Senate prior to last month鈥檚 vote, but most of those were technical in nature.

However, there were a number of notable changes, such as an increase from the initial limit of four self-cultivated plants per person and to make it so people who grow cannabis for personal use will not be subject to a requirement to have regulators track plants.

An additional change mandates that the government clear criminal records of people with past cannabis convictions within six months.

Lawmakers also removed a prohibition on owning more than one type of marijuana license, allowing for vertical integration of cannabis businesses. A previous version of the bill would have only allowed people from vulnerable communities to hold more than one license type.

Another modification that advocates are not happy with says that nonprofit associations of consumers that collectively cultivate cannabis must be located at least 500 meters from schools, sports and recreation centers and anywhere that third parties who have not given their consent could be exposed to smoke.

The legalization bill聽cleared a joint group of Senate committees聽prior to the full floor vote, with some amendments being made after members informally聽considered and debated the proposal聽during a virtual hearing.

Members of the Senate鈥檚 Justice, Health, and Legislative Studies Committees had聽approved a prior version of legal cannabis legislation聽in March, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed consideration of the issue.

Senate President Eduardo Ram铆rez previously said that there was a 鈥渃onsensus鈥 to achieve the reform by the court-mandated December deadline, but that did not pan out.

The legislation makes some attempts to mitigate the influence of large marijuana corporations. For example, it states that for the first five years after implementation, at least 40 percent of cannabis business licenses must be granted to those from indigenous, low-income or historically marginalized communities.

The Mexican Institute of Cannabis would be responsible for regulating the market and issuing licenses.

Public consumption of marijuana would be allowed, except in places where tobacco use is prohibited or at mass gatherings where people under 18 could be exposed.

Households where more than one adult lives would be limited to cultivating a maximum of eight plants. The legislation also says people 鈥渟hould not鈥 consume cannabis in homes where there are underaged individuals. Possession of more than 28 grams but fewer than 200 grams would be considered an infraction punishable by a fine but no jail time.

Sen. Julio Ram贸n Menchaca Salazar of the MORENA party said in April that legalizing cannabis could fill treasury coffers at a time when the economy is recovering from the pandemic.

As lawmakers work to advance the reform legislation, there鈥檚 been a more lighthearted push to focus attention on the issue by certain members and activists. That push has mostly involved planting and gifting marijuana.

In September, a top administration official was聽gifted a cannabis plant by senator聽on the Senate floor, and she said she鈥檇 be making it a part of her personal garden.

A different lawmaker聽gave the same official, Interior Ministry Secretary Olga S谩nchez Cordero, a marijuana joint聽on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies last year.

Cannabis made another appearance in the legislature in August, when Sen. Jesusa Rodr铆guez of the MORENA party聽decorated her desk with a marijuana plant.

Drug policy reform advocates have also been cultivating hundreds of marijuana plants in front of the Senate, putting pressure on legislators to make good on their pledge to advance legalization.

Read lawmakers’ request for a deadline extension and the court’s response below:聽

Mexico Supreme Court Marijuana Delay by Marijuana Moment on Scribd

Embracing Marijuana Legalization Could Have Offset Democratic Election Losses, Poll Indicates

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Florida Would Study Psychedelics’ Medical Benefits Under Top Senate Democrat’s New Bill

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The top Democrat in the Florida Senate filed a bill on Friday that would require the state to research the medical benefits of psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA.

If enacted, the state Department of Health would be directed to “conduct a study evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of alternative therapies” such as those substances, as well as ketamine, “in treating mental health and other medical conditions,” including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, chronic pain and migraines.

The proposal, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book (D) is modeled on legislation enacted into law in Texas earlier this year that similarly instructs officials in that state to research the therapeutic value of certain psychedelics, although that bill had a narrower focus on helping military veterans with PTSD.

A companion version of the Florida measure is being carried in the House by Rep. Michael Grieco (D).

鈥淭his is one of the rare times it would be ok to Texas our Florida, since the Lone Star State is one of many who embrace the FDA鈥檚 breakthrough designation for alternate mental health therapies such as psilocybin,” Grieco told Marijuana Moment. “This bill will send our state in the right direction, especially amongst our veterans, for patients who are resistant to traditional mental health therapies.鈥

Book said in a press release that the legislation “provides a natural pathway to wellness for patients with debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder and treatment-resistant depression.”

鈥淧silocybin treatment is a safe alternative for those who have exhausted all other avenues for mental health and wellbeing, and I am proud to sponsor legislation to ensure Floridians have medical access to this life-saving natural treatment,” she said.

Grieco added in the release that 鈥淔lorida does not have to be the last state to catch up with science every time.”

“Between medical marijuana and climate change, our state seems to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” he said. “The science regarding psilocybin is real, cannot be ignored, and soon will be a universally-accepted form of treatment in the U.S. Veterans and veterans organizations should be watching closely on behalf of folks suffering from addiction, PTSD and depression.”


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

The governor of Connecticut signed a bill in June that includes language requiring the state to carry out a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.

Under the Florida legislation鈥SB 348 and HB 193鈥攐fficials would have to submit a report and recommendations to the governor and top lawmakers by September 1, 2023.

Earlier this year, Grieco filed a more far-reaching bill that would have created a broader program of legal access to psilocybin for therapeutic use, similar to the ballot measure approved by Oregon voters last year. That legislation failed to advance through committee, however.

“After authoring a very ambitious 59-page bill last year, one that started a broader conversation,” Grieco said, “I am ready to work with both my Republican and Democratic colleagues to create a framework designed to help those patients who need it.”

Last week, Florida activists filed a marijuana legalization initiative they hope to place on the 2022 ballot. The move comes after the state Supreme Court invalidated two prior measures the justices deemed to be “misleading.”

Meanwhile, Florida isn’t the only state where psychedelics policy moves are being made.

Jurisdictions across the country are increasingly removing or reducing penalties around drug possession and consumption, especially when it comes to psychedelics. Since Denver in 2019 became the first U.S. city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, a number of states and municipalities have made similar changes to dismantle the drug war.

Oregon voters passed a pair of initiatives last November to聽legalize psilocybin therapy聽and聽decriminalize possession of all drugs. On the local level, activists in聽Portland are mounting聽a push to have local lawmakers pass a resolution聽decriminalizing the cultivation, gifting and ceremonial use of a wide range of psychedelics.

Washington, D.C. voters also approved a ballot measure last year to聽deprioritize enforcement of laws criminalizing psychedelics.

In California this month, activists were cleared to begin collecting signatures for a historic initiative to legalize psilocybin mushrooms in the state. Oakland聽and聽Santa Cruz聽have already enacted psychedelics decriminalization.

Detroit currently stands to become one of the next major cities to decriminalize psychedelics, with the reform proposal making the local ballot for this November.

Elsewhere in Michigan, the Ann Arbor City Council has already elected to make enforcement of laws prohibition psychedelics like psilocybin, ayahuasca and DMT聽among the city鈥檚 lowest priorities鈥攁nd lawmakers recently followed up by declaring September聽Entheogenic Plants and Fungi Awareness Month. Advocates have also introduced a reform resolution to the Grand Rapids City Council.

Massachusetts cities that have enacted the policy change include聽Northampton,聽Somerville聽and聽Cambridge. In July, state lawmakers heard testimony about a bill to create a task force charged with聽studying the implications of legalizing psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

In Seattle, the City Council is considering a resolution to decriminalize psychedelics.

A New York lawmaker introduced a bill in June that would require the state to establish an institute to similarly聽research the medical value of psychedelics.

The Maine House of Representatives聽passed a drug decriminalization bill聽this year, but it later聽died in the Senate.

In Oakland, the first city where a city council voted to broadly deprioritize criminalization of entheogenic substances, lawmakers聽approved a follow-up resolution聽in December that calls for the policy change to be adopted statewide and for local jurisdictions to be allowed to permit healing ceremonies where people could use psychedelics.

Meanwhile, Denver activists who successfully led the 2019 campaign to make the city聽the first in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin possession聽have set their eyes on broader reform, with plans in the works to end the criminalization of noncommercial gifting and communal use of the psychedelic.

In a setback for advocates, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted against a proposal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that聽would have removed a spending bill rider聽that advocates say has restricted federal funds for research into Schedule I drugs, including psychedelics such as psilocybin, MDMA and ibogaine. However, it picked up considerably more votes this round than聽when the congresswoman first introduced it聽in 2019.

Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need to聽expand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged NIDA to support expanded marijuana studies, for example. It further says that federal health agencies should pursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics聽for military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.

There was an attempt by a Republican congressman to attach language into a defense spending bill that would promote research into psychedelics therapy for active duty military members, but it was not made in order in the House Rules Committee this week.

Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need to聽expand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged NIDA to support expanded marijuana studies, for example. It further says that federal health agencies should pursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics聽for military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.

NIDA also recently announced it’s funding a study into whether psilocybin can help people quit smoking cigarettes.

There was an attempt by a Republican congressman to attach language into a defense spending bill that would promote research into psychedelics therapy for active duty military members, but it was not made in order in the House Rules Committee this week.

In May, lawmakers in Congress filed the聽first-ever legislation to federally decriminalize possession聽of illicit substances.

Seattle City Council Takes First Step Toward Decriminalizing Psychedelic Plants And Fungi

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Workman.

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Seattle City Council Takes First Step Toward Decriminalizing Psychedelic Plants And Fungi

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A Seattle City Council committee considered a resolution on Friday that would decriminalize a wide range of activities around psychedelic drugs, including cultivation and sharing with others, by declaring those activities among the city’s lowest law enforcement priorities.

The council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee heard comments from the proposal’s supporters, including Councilmember Andrew Lewis and the advocacy group Decrim Nature Seattle. While the panel did not vote on the draft resolution, Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the committee, said the full City Council will likely take up the measure in coming weeks.

“Hopefully the city鈥攁s tends to be the case on many impactful progressive issues in the state of Washington鈥攃an lead the way on setting the table for an important conversation many communities around the country are having,” Lewis, who introduced the measure, said at the meeting.

As introduced, the proposed resolution expresses the City Council’s support for what it calls “full decriminalization” around psychedelics used “in religious, spiritual, healing, or personal growth practices.” It would apply to plants or fungi that contain substances “including, but not limited to” psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, igoba and mescaline, though it would not include the peyote cactus.

If adopted, the resolution would declare “that the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities…should be among The City of Seattle’s lowest enforcement priorities” and request that the Seattle Police Department “move towards the formal codification and adoption of that practice as departmental policy.”

It would further express the council’s intent to analyze the city’s municipal “to determine what changes would be necessary to protect from arrest or prosecution individuals who cultivate entheogens.” Those changes would be made through a subsequent city ordinance.

It’s already city policy neither to detain nor arrest individuals caught with psychedelics, nor to confiscate those substances, the resolution says鈥攖he result of a state Supreme Court decision earlier this year. But other activity, including cultivation and distribution, remain punishable by arrest and incarceration.

Supporters say there are compelling reasons to expand decriminalization beyond simple possession: The resolution points to the disproportionate impact of the drug war on people of color and low-income communities, calling decriminalization “an effort to begin to correcting the irreparable harm.” It also acknowledges the emerging potential of psychedelics, in conjunction with therapy, to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), end-of-life anxiety, substance use-disorder and others.

The resolution was inspired in part by the City Council’s interest in reducing opioid-related deaths. In June, Lewis Herbold formally asked a task force to examine “public policy governing psychedelic medicines”聽as a way to combat the overdose epidemic. Late last month, the task force came back with recommendations that the city decriminalize psychedelics and consider removing criminal penalties around all drugs.

At the same time, the advocacy group Decrim Nature Seattle聽(DNS) has been lobbying the council to make the policy change around plant- and fungi-derived psychedelics. The group began its work two years ago, and in May it submitted a draft ordinance to Lewis’s office at the councilmember’s request. Members have also appeared regularly at council meetings to urge the policy change.

Lewis told Marijuana Moment this month that it’s his “personal goal” to introduce an ordinance to decriminalize psychedelics by the end of this year. “And frankly, if there鈥檚 sort of a consensus and there鈥檚 lightning in a bottle, I don鈥檛 think it鈥檚 inconceivable that an ordinance could be passed this year,” he said. “I think it鈥檚 actually pretty reasonable.”

In an email to Marijuana Moment ahead of Friday’s committee meeting, Tatiana Luz Quintana, DNS’s co-director and co-chair of education and outreach, said the group expects the resolution “will prepare the council to spend time creating a work plan to address full decriminalization, meaning possession, cultivation, social sharing (non-monetary exchange) and community-based healing and ceremony.”

“The implications of this policy change would be long lasting,” Quintana said. “Within Seattle, after these reforms, many people who operate in the underground will be more free to advertise their services. Decriminalization will also promote a consciousness shift in the public, increasing exposure to conversations around psychedelics, helping to break the ice and break down stigmas, and create an environment ripe for integrating these substances into our culture.”

DNS said the change will allow Seattle to establish best practices, including around education and community-based healing. Advocates also presented to the City Council committee a sign-on letter in support of decriminalization signed by more than 40 area healthcare professionals.

The policy change would not apply to peyote, which is excluded from its definition of entheogens due to the cactus’s special cultural significance to certain Native American peoples and the ongoing effort to protect the plant. Peyote matures slowly and is currently categorized by conservationists as “vulnerable” after an uptick in聽illicit harvesting. The cactus, native to Mexico and parts of the American Southwest, has no federal protection in the U.S., while in Mexico it can be harvested legally only by Indigenous groups.

Both the city resolution and the opioid task force recommendations also call for psychedelics reform at the state level. The resolution says the city’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations add to its agenda for the 2022 legislative session “support for full decriminalization of entheogens at the state level, including the drafting of legislation that could be sponsored by a state legislative representative.”

Like much of the rest of the country, Washington State is contemplating major changes in how it treats drug use. Earlier this year, lawmakers considered legislation that would have removed all penalties for possession of relatively small, 鈥減ersonal use鈥 amounts of drugs and instead invested in treatment and recovery services. While that bill died in committee, lawmakers from both parties acknowledged at the time that the state鈥檚 drug control apparatus was broken.

Shortly thereafter, the state Supreme Court overturned Washington鈥檚 felony law against drug possession completely, sending lawmakers scrambling to replace the law. Ultimately they approved a modest reform, reducing the state鈥檚 felony charge for drug possession to a misdemeanor聽and earmarking more money for treatment.

Earlier this month, advocates announced a push to put a measure on Washington’s 2022 ballot that would decriminalize all drugs and invest state money in treatment and recovery.

Jurisdictions across the country are increasingly removing or reducing penalties around drug possession and consumption, especially when it comes to psychedelics. Since Denver in 2019 became the first U.S. city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, a number of states and municipalities have made similar changes to dismantle the drug war.

Oregon voters passed a pair of initiatives last November to聽legalize psilocybin therapy聽and聽decriminalize possession of all drugs. On the local level, activists in聽Portland are mounting聽a push to have local lawmakers pass a resolution聽decriminalizing the cultivation, gifting and ceremonial use of a wide range of psychedelics.

Washington, D.C. voters also approved a ballot measure last year to聽deprioritize enforcement of laws criminalizing psychedelics.

In California last week, activists were cleared to begin collecting signatures for a historic initiative to legalize psilocybin mushrooms in the state. Oakland聽and聽Santa Cruz聽have already enacted psychedelics decriminalization.

Detroit currently stands to become one of the next major cities to decriminalize psychedelics, with the reform proposal making the local ballot for this November.

Elsewhere in Michigan, the Ann Arbor City Council has already elected to make enforcement of laws prohibition psychedelics like psilocybin, ayahuasca and DMT聽among the city鈥檚 lowest priorities鈥攁nd lawmakers recently followed up by declaring September聽Entheogenic Plants and Fungi Awareness Month. Advocates have also introduced a reform resolution to the Grand Rapids City Council.

Massachusetts cities that have enacted the policy change include聽Northampton,聽Somerville聽and聽Cambridge. In July, state lawmakers heard testimony about a bill to create a task force charged with聽studying the implications of legalizing psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

The governor of Connecticut recently signed legislation recently that includes language requiring the state to carry out聽a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.

Texas also recently enacted a bill to require the state聽study the medical benefits of psychedelics for military veterans.

A New York lawmaker introduced a bill in June that would require the state to establish an institute to similarly聽research the medical value of psychedelics.

The Maine House of Representatives聽passed a drug decriminalization bill聽this year, but it later聽died in the Senate.

In Oakland, the first city where a city council voted to broadly deprioritize criminalization of entheogenic substances, lawmakers聽approved a follow-up resolution聽in December that calls for the policy change to be adopted statewide and for local jurisdictions to be allowed to permit healing ceremonies where people could use psychedelics.

Meanwhile, Denver activists who successfully led the 2019 campaign to make the city聽the first in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin possession聽have set their eyes on broader reform, with plans in the works to end the criminalization of noncommercial gifting and communal use of the psychedelic.

In a setback for advocates, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted against a proposal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that聽would have removed a spending bill rider聽that advocates say has restricted federal funds for research into Schedule I drugs, including psychedelics such as psilocybin, MDMA and ibogaine. However, it picked up considerably more votes this round than聽when the congresswoman first introduced it聽in 2019.

Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need to聽expand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged NIDA to support expanded marijuana studies, for example. It further says that federal health agencies should pursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics聽for military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.

There was an attempt by a Republican congressman to attach language into a defense spending bill that would promote research into psychedelics therapy for active duty military members, but it was not made in order in the House Rules Committee this week.

Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need to聽expand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged NIDA to support expanded marijuana studies, for example. It further says that federal health agencies should pursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics聽for military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.

NIDA also recently announced it’s funding a study into whether psilocybin can help people quit smoking cigarettes.

There was an attempt by a Republican congressman to attach language into a defense spending bill that would promote research into psychedelics therapy for active duty military members, but it was not made in order in the House Rules Committee this week.

In May, lawmakers in Congress filed the聽first-ever legislation to federally decriminalize possession聽of illicit substances.

Read the full Seattle psychedelics decriminalization resolution below:

Click to access seattle-pychedelics-decriminalization-resolution.pdf

House Committee Will Vote On Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill Next Week, Days After Banking Reform Advances

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/M盲di.

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House Committee Will Vote On Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill Next Week, Days After Banking Reform Advances

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A bill to federally legalize marijuana will be voted on by the House Judiciary Committee next week, the panel announced on Friday.

The development comes one day after the House voted in favor of a defense spending bill that includes an amendment that would protect banks that service state-legal cannabis businesses from being penalized by federal regulators.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act will receive a markup on Wednesday. The panel will consider a dozen pieces of legislation during the meeting, according to a press release. That includes his bill to “decriminalize marijuana federally and invest in communities that have been disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs,” Nadler said.

“Many of these bills were reported out of the committee and passed by the full House of Representatives last Congress, and I look forward to working with all my colleagues once again to get these bills through Congress and on to the president鈥檚 desk,” the chairman said.

Nadler’s cannabis legislation passed the House last year but did not advance in the Senate under GOP control. This time around, advocates are optimistic that something like the chairman’s bill could be enacted now that Democrats run both chambers and the White House, and as more states are moving to enact legalization.

The legislation would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), allow people with cannabis convictions to have their records expunged and create a federal tax on marijuana with the revenue going to support community reinvestment and other programs.

It also contains language to create a pathway for resentencing for those incarcerated for cannabis offenses, protect immigrants from being denied citizenship over marijuana and prevent federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearance due to its use.

鈥淲e are excited to see Chairman Nadler and House leadership move forward once again with passing the MORE Act,” Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, said. “Public support and state-policy demand for repealing federal marijuana criminalization has never been higher and Congressional action on this legislation is long overdue. The days of federal marijuana prohibition are numbered.”

There’s been some contention between advocates and stakeholders on which reform should come first: the bipartisan banking legislation that’s cleared the House in some form five times now or the comprehensive legalization bill that passed the chamber for the first time late last year.

Legalization advocates do want to see legislation from Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) become enacted, as there are public safety problems caused by all-cash businesses and it would take an important step toward normalizing the growing industry. But social equity-minded activists argue that advancing the incremental reform first would mainly benefit large marijuana businesses without addressing the harms of cannabis criminalization.

The fate of the banking proposal will likely be decided in conference with the Senate, which has not included the policy change in its National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and where key lawmakers have insisted that they will push for broader reform before allowing the incremental change to be enacted.

Separately, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (R-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) are also leading the charge on a legalization bill in their chamber. But weeks after a public comment period on a draft version of the proposal closed, finalized text has yet to be formally filed鈥攁nd it’s far from certain that Schumer will be able to find enough votes to advance the comprehensive reform through his chamber.

It should be noted that President Joe Biden remains firmly opposed to adult-use marijuana legalization. While he supports more modest reforms such as decriminalizing cannabis, expunging prior records and letting states set their own marijuana policies, there’s an open question about whether he would be moved to sign a broad bill like the MORE Act or the Senate legalization legislation should such a proposal reach his desk.

With respect to the MORE Act, the latest version does not include language that was added just before last year鈥檚 House floor vote that would have prevented people with previous cannabis convictions from obtaining federal permits to operate marijuana businesses. That was a contentious provision that appeared at the last minute and which advocates strongly opposed.

And whereas the the prior version of the legislation contained language to help economically disadvantaged people enter the legal marijuana market, that language was revised to extend Small Business Administration (SBA) aid鈥攕uch as loans, financial literacy programs and job training鈥攖o help people who have been harmed by the war on drugs pursue business opportunities in any industry, not just cannabis.

Advocates are encouraged by the new revisions to the bill, but there are still additional components they hope to see changed as it goes through the legislative process. For example, they also took issue with provisions聽added to the MORE Act prior to last year鈥檚 vote聽that would have stipulated that cannabis can still be included in drug testing programs for federal workers.

The current version of the MORE Act has 66 cosponsors, including seven lawmakers that signed on this week. All are Democrats.

Separately, a proposal to federally deschedule marijuana that does not include social equity components was filed by a pair of Republican congressmen in May.

Feds Fund Study Into Whether Psilocybin Can Help People Quit Smoking Cigarettes

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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