May 13, 2021
Federal Cannabis Reform Bill Introduced In Congress

Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) has introduced the Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses and Medical Professionals Act alongside his fellow co-chair of the Cannabis Caucus, Congressman Don Young (AK-At Large). This important legislation aims to responsibly reform the federal government’s cannabis policy.

The Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses and Medical Professionals Act would:

  • Remove cannabis from the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
  • Direct the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to issue rules to regulate cannabis modeled after the alcohol industry within one year of enactment.
  • Create a federal preemption to protect financial institutions and other businesses in non-cannabis legal states so that they can service cannabis companies.
  • Allow the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to prescribe medical cannabis to veterans.
  • Direct the National Institutes of Health to conduct two studies on cannabis as it pertains to pain management and cannabis impairment and report to Congress within two years of enactment.

“With more than 40 States taking action on this issue, it’s past time for Congress to recognize that continued cannabis prohibition is neither tenable nor the will of the American electorate,” said Joyce. “My legislation answers the American people’s call for change and addresses our States’ need for clarity by creating an effective federal regulatory framework for cannabis that will help veterans, support small businesses and their workers, allow for critical research and tackle the opioid crisis, all while respecting the rights of States to make their own decisions regarding cannabis policies that are best for their constituents. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this bill signed into law so that we can enact sensible and meaningful cannabis reform that will improve lives and livelihoods.”

The bill has received support from various cannabis industry organizations. Issued statements can be read below.

U.S. Cannabis Council: “It is incredibly encouraging to see Republican leadership to end the federal prohibition and criminalization of cannabis,” said Interim CEO Steven Hawkins. “Cannabis reform is truly a bipartisan matter ripe for immediate solution. The USCC thanks Rep. David Joyce for his work and looks forward to supporting the ‘Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses, and Medical Professionals Act.’”

NORML: “It is our hope that more congressional Republicans will follow the lead of Representatives Joyce and Young, as well as the American people, in supporting a repeal of the failed and senseless policy of federal marijuana criminalization by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act,” said Political Director Justin Strekal.

National Cannabis Roundtable: “NCR applauds Congressman Joyce’s continued leadership of cannabis reform. We welcome the opportunity to work through this legislation with him as we have a shared goal – that is, allowing the already $18B US cannabis industry to continue to grow as a driver of job creation and economic opportunity for all Americans.”

Marijuana Policy Project: “With an overwhelming majority of Americans supporting the end of cannabis prohibition, it’s clear that our country has a mandate to create a legal industry that supports both medical and adult-use,” said Executive Director Steven Hawkins. “It’s a bipartisan issue and The Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses, and Medical Professionals Act introduced today by Reps. David Joyce (R-OH) and Don Young (R-AK) is a promising step forward. MPP is hopeful that subsequent negotiations and versions of this bill will include robust social justice and equity provisions to address the devastation caused by prohibition and the failed War on Drugs. Federal legalization must be drafted and regulated to provide social and economic justice for the millions of lives upended by discrimination and unequal enforcement. By including those most harmed, we can build an equitable, well-regulated, and inclusive cannabis industry from the ground up.”

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