After reading the write ups on the new Cannabis Administration Opportunity Act (CAOA) and checking with our DC sources, I wish we could say we are more opportunistic on the passage of the new cannabis legalization bill in the Senate.
The new 296-page bill mimics the early 163-page flop that Senator Shumer and Booker introduced many months ago. If you don’t remember back that far due to a smoky haze, or care not too, we are talking huge federal taxes, nonsensical amounts of cannabis for personal use, not supporting the Safe Banking Act, and a whole slew of head-scratching marijuana ideas and promises. You can read about it here.
The new bill improves such things as cannabis worker’s rights, a legal standard for driving while impaired, banking access, and a new Federal marijuana license idea for shipping cannabis from state to state. Yes, that is included so that legal states can ship product to other legal states and non-legal states must allow the cannabis to pass through, but it may not be distributed in those states.
You think wholesale prices and retail prices are hitting a bottom now? Look out below when mass producing states can ship their excess inventory across the country to heavily regulated states. Prices will plummet, but the good news is that we will get an efficient market for the legal and non-legal markets. Just to make it more exciting for law enforcement, the legal THC limit for hemp would also be raised to 0.7% from 0.3%. How you like them apples, officer? Now try and test that crop you just pulled me over for in your legal or non-legal state.
Before the industry gets too excited about a the federal cannabis legalization bill actually in the Senate now, not just the House, let’s look at five dire facts.
One, we will have cannabis legalization when Senator Mitch McConnel says we will have federal legalization. At the present, he has not endorsed this bill.
Two, do you think the Republicans are going to let the 3 Democrats introduce and pass a very popular bill with the voters in the Republican controlled Senate? So, the Democrats get to do a victory lap for weed legalization in the Republican’s endzone? Fat Chance! Better chance of Rep. Nancy Mace’s bill getting traction with Mitch and his band of 8, then a Democratic lead bill in the Senate. Let us not forget how Senator McConnel has publicly mocked Democrats for trying to even pass the Safe Banking Act in a variety off add-on measures to current Defense and China-based bills.
Three, this version of the CAOA has a good amount of social justice, economic empowerment, and federal taxes going to communities most effected by the War on Drugs thanks to Senator Booker. This is a non-starter with most Republicans, the new federal taxes and the social equity parts of the bill, that is.
Think we are being a bunch of curmudgeons on federal legalization, again? Here is Marijuana Moment’s take on the passage of the bill:
While the sponsors have spent months discussing the proposal with offices across the aisle, there’s still a fair amount of skepticism about the prospects of reaching the 60-vote threshold needed to pass the measure through the Senate.
Republican senators are generally expected to oppose a measure to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), let alone one that would also impose a federal tax on marijuana sales and contains progressive social equity provisions such as automatic expungements for prior cannabis convictions.
It’s also not guaranteed that all Democratic members of the Senate will support the legislation. Several members have been either non-committal or signaled that they’d oppose it based on the original draft language. Democrats hold a slim majority in the chamber, so any dissent within the caucus could compromise the bill’s chances of passage.
Four, November elections are coming up and Democrats are losing seats. We are also in a wave of Conservative thinking sweeping America in regard to gun laws, abortion, maybe gay marriage is next, and weed legalization would not be high on the list of things to get done by Conservative Americans in power right now.
Five, President Biden is no fan of drugs, a longstanding “War on Drugs” supporter, and having a family member die of drugs, he is just not a weed guy. While pledging on the campaign tour to release low level cannabis-offense inmates, 3 years later we are still waiting for that pledge to be fulfilled. His office has said an announcement is coming soon, but he is obviously not making cannabis legalization a priority even though he is a Democrat and his Vice President sponsored one of the cannabis legalization bills.
If the House flips Republican in the Fall, then Rep. Mace’s bill may be the best shot at legalization as she is a Republican in the House and then the Republicans could take full credit for legalizing weed, their way, and get the voter approval ratings.
Time will tell and elections will come and go, but weed will be legalized when Mitch McConnell says so.