Senators release federal legalization bill

By Alex Halperin
Jul 15, 2021

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a long-awaited 30-page draft document of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act(CAOA). The bill, developed with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) lays out a plan for federal cannabis reform.

Business Insider put together a useful listicle of eight key takeaways from the bill. They include:

  • Cannabis would be de-scheduled.
  • It would be federally taxed and regulated in addition to state taxes and regulations.  
  • Interstate trade would be allowed. Hated tax law 280E would no-longer affect the industry.
  • The bill includes equity provisions.

The industry gave it a B/B+:

  • Matt Hawkins, managing partner at Entourage Effect Capital wrote: “Federal legalization could lower the risk of investing in cannabis and allow institutional investors to enter the space. However, the bill’s high tax proposals and lack of guidance on interstate commerce may inadvertently hamper the growth of legal operators.”
  • The bill would also enable cannabis companies to trade on U.S. public markets.

Conventional wisdom quickly gelled that the bill as written is a “long shot.”

  • President Biden does not support legalization and at least one Democratic Senator opposes it as well. 
  • Sen. Booker sat on speculation that the bill could lead to banking reform as a compromise. Booker said he wouldn’t let it happen since it would enrich cannabis executives without correcting the wrongs of prohibition. (FWIW, small equity businesses want banking reform as well.) 
    Marijuana Moment, WeedWeek

Across the aisle: Conservative National Review weighed in on “the marijuana reform we need.

Also in D.C.: Biden appointed West Virginia health official Rahul Gupta to serve as drug “czar,” head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He’s about as 420-friendly, as drug czars get.
WVMetroNews, Marijuana Moment