Cannabis Legislative Priorities
Cannabis Small Business Health and Safety Act: Introduced by Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR) and Perlmutter (D-CO), this legislation
would allow legal cannabis businesses to access disaster relief loans
and other programs available during the COVID-19 crisis, which mirrors our recently sent congressional leadership letter on the issue.
The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act:
The STATES Act was reintroduced on April 4, 2019, by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and David Joyce (R-OH) to ensure that each state has the right to determine for itself
the best approach to cannabis within its borders. This legislation, otherwise referred to as H.R. 2093/S.1028, would also extend these protections to Washington, D.C., U.S. territories, and federally recognized tribal nations. S. 1028 has nine
cosponsors (five Republicans and four Democrats) and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it awaits consideration. H.R. 2093 has 52 cosponsors (17 Republicans and 35 Democrats) awaits consideration in the House Judiciary Committee.
The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act:
The SAFE Banking Act was introduced by Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) on March 7, 2019. The legislation, otherwise known as H.R. 1595 is designed to make it easier for marijuana dispensaries and growers – as well as real estate owners, law firms,
and other businesses that engage with them – to access the banking system instead of relying on cash transactions. H.R. 1595 also would allow banks and credit unions to provide financial services to state-authorized cannabis businesses without
federal penalties. The SAFE Banking Act has 206 cosponsors (180 Democrats and 26 Republicans) and passed the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 45-15 on March 28, 2019. On September 25, 2019, the SAFE Banking Act was passed in the
House by a 321-103 margin. The legislation is now awaiting consideration in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
The Cannabidiol and Marijuana Expansion Act:
On June 28, 2019, Sens. Feinstein (D-CA), Grassley (R-IA) and Schatz (D-HI) along with Alexander (R-TN), Durbin (D-IL), Klobuchar (D-MN), Tillis (R-NC), Kaine (D-VA), Ernst (R-IA), Cramer (R-ND), and Tester (D-MT) introduced the Cannabidiol and Marijuana
Research Expansion Act to encourage scientific and medical research on marijuana and its compounds including cannabidiol, or CBD. The legislation is currently awaiting consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The ACIL is monitoring the following pending federal cannabis legislation:
The Respect States’ and Citizens Rights Act
, otherwise referred to as H.R. 2012, was reintroduced by Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) on April 1, 2019. This legislation is designed to prevent the federal government from enforcing its prohibition on marijuana in states where it is legal for residents to possess and use the drug. Specifically, H.R. 2012 would prevent federal preemption of state marijuana laws and allow states to establish the regulatory framework needed to tax and regulate the industry without the threat of a federal court challenge. H.R. 2012 has three Democratic cosponsors and awaits further consideration in the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
On February 8, 2019, the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act
was reintroduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to de-schedule, tax and regulate marijuana. This legislation, otherwise referred to as H.R. 1120/S.420 would also impose an excise tax on marijuana products like the current federal excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, escalating annually to a top rate equal to 25 percent of the sales price. Additionally, marijuana producers, importers and wholesalers would be required to obtain a permit from the Department of Treasury, though there would be a prohibition on sales or distribution of marijuana in states where it is illegal under state law. S. 420 is currently without any cosponsors and awaits consideration in the Senate Finance Committee. H.R. 1120 has one Democratic cosponsor and awaits consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee.
The Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap (RAMP) Act
was introduced by Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer on February 8, 2019 to reduce the gap between federal and state laws through the removal of federal criminal penalties and civil asset forfeiture for individuals and businesses complying with state law. The legislation, also referred to as H.R. 1119/S.421, would reduce the barriers for state-legal marijuana businesses by ensuring access to banking, bankruptcy protection, marijuana research and advertising. Additionally, this legislation would provide an expungement process for individuals who have been convicted of certain marijuana violations that fall into compliance with state law and would establish a new, separate registration process to facilitate medical marijuana research. S.421 is currently without any cosponsors and awaits consideration in the Senate Finance Committee. H.R 1119 is also without cosponsors and is awaiting consideration before the House Committees on Judiciary, Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Financial Services, Education and Labor, and Oversight and Reform.
The Marijuana Justice Act was introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) as well as Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) on February 28, 2019. This legislation, otherwise referred to as H.R 1456/S.597 would remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level. Additionally, the legislation would automatically expunge the convictions of individuals who have served federal time for marijuana use and possession offenses. S. 597 has seven cosponsors (six Democrats and one Independent) and is awaiting consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee. H.R. 1456 has 40 Democratic cosponsors and is awaiting action in the House Committees on Judiciary, Financial Services, Natural Resources, Energy and Commerce, and Agriculture.
The Small Business Tax Equity Act was introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) on February 7, 2019 to create an exemption to the Internal Revenue Code Section 280E that allows businesses operating in compliance with state laws to take business-related deductions associated with the sale of marijuana just like any other legal business. Under current law, Section 230E of the tax code prohibits anyone purchasing or selling drugs listed in Schedule I or Schedule II from deducting their business expenses from their taxes or taking any other business credits or deductions. In the Senate, this legislation, otherwise referred to as S. 422, has four cosponsors (three Democrats and one Republican) and awaits consideration in the Senate Finance Committee. In the House, the legislation, referred to as H.R. 1118, has six cosponsors (four Democrats and two Republicans) and awaits consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee.
The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act was introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on May 20, 2019. The legislation, otherwise referred to as H.R. 2843/S. 1552 would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. H.R. 2843/S.
1552 would also create funding for minority and women-owned cannabis businesses, sets advertising regulations, invest in highway safety and public health research, and provides for state and local expungement and sealing programs. S. 1552 has seven cosponsors (six Democrats, one Independent) and is awaiting consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee. H.R. 2483 has 37 Democratic cosponsors and was referred to the House Committees on Judiciary, Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, Small Business, and Transportation and Infrastructure.
The Medical Cannabis Research Act was introduced by Rep. Gaetz (R-FL) on January 16, 2019 to unlock the potential to research cures offered by medical cannabis particularly to veterans, the chronically ill, and the elderly. The legislation, otherwise referred to as H.R.601, would not change the legal status of cannabis and would not interfere with federal, state, or local cannabis laws. H.R. 601 has 12 cosponsors (eight Democrats, four Republicans) and is awaiting consideration in the House Judiciary and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act was
introduced by Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR) on January 9, 2019 to legalize
marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act and allow
for a nationally regulated industry
under the oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives. The legislation, otherwise referred to as H.R.
420 is awaiting consideration in the House Judiciary and Ways and Means
The Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act was
by Rep. Correa (D-CA) to prohibit the Department of
Justice from prosecuting marijuana-related conduct that is authorized by
state law. The legislation, otherwise referred to as H.R. 493, has ten
Democratic cosponsors is awaiting consideration
in the House Judiciary Committee.
ACIL is concentrating its efforts on the following cannabis-related topics:
On February 20,
ACIL met with Dr. Smith at USDA, and one week
later, USDA delayed the enforcement of the DEA registration for cannabis
Legal Opinion on Authorities for Hemp Productions
Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) authorized the production of
hemp and removed hemp and hemp seeds from the Drug Enforcement
Administration’s (DEA) schedule of Controlled Substances. In response to
raised concerning provisions pertaining to the
interstate transportation of hemp and who may obtain a license to
produce hemp, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the General
Counsel (OGC) has concluded the following:
- As of the
enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill on December 20, 2018, hemp has been
removed from schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and is no
longer a controlled substance.
- After USDA
publishes regulations implementing the new hemp production provisions of
the 2018 Farm Bill, States and Indian tribes may not prohibit the
interstate transportation or shipment of hemp lawfully produced under a
or Tribal plan or under a license issued
under the USDA plan.
- States and Indian
tribes also may not prohibit the interstate transportation or shipment
of hemp lawfully produced under the 2014 Farm Bill.
- A person with a
State or Federal felony conviction relating to a controlled substance is
subject to a 10-year ineligibility restriction on producing hemp under
the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946. An exception applies to a person
who was lawfully growing hemp under the 2014
Farm Bill before December 20, 2018, and whose conviction also occurred
before that date.
Hemp FDA Meeting
The 2018 Farm Bill
legalized hemp and interest in the plant and its popular byproduct
cannabidiol has exploded! On May 31 2019, the FDA held its first public
meeting on potential CBD rules. At the meeting, Lowell Schiller,
who leads the FDA working group on cannabidiol,
questioned the logic of allowing CBD to be marketed as a dietary
supplement alongside vitamins and other established products. Officials
also raised concerns about oversight
of CBD goods already on store shelves.
Several academics presented studies showing
that many marketed CBD products like oils and e-cigarette vapors
contain either no cannabidiol, far more than claimed, or a mixture of
CBD and dangerous synthetic psychoactives.
Finally, pharmaceutical companies and patient
groups said research barriers have held them back from studying the
substance's safety and potential benefits.
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