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Cannabis Legalization in the US


KJP
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The House may vote on a cannabis legalization bill this week.  The text of the bill, along with the Judiciary Committee report on it, are available here:  https://docs.house.gov/floor/Default.aspx?date=2022-03-28

 

As far as I can see, the bill would not preempt state cannabis laws; instead, it deschedules cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act and builds a new federal licensing and tax regime on top of existing state regulation.  In addition, it requires the FDA to hold public meetings "to address the regulation, safety, manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling, and sale of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds."  That sounds to me like the prelude for future FDA regulation of cannabis products, perhaps along the lines of the current FDA regulation of tobacco and now synthetic nicotine products.  As I have explained in another thread, FDA approval processes typically are time consuming and expensive, so they favor large, experienced players, like the tobacco companies.  So, overall I think this approach would be bullish for big tobacco.

 

This is a Democratic-sponsored bill, so even if it passes the House I doubt it does anywhere in the Senate anytime soon.  But the fact that Democrats are proposing this approach to cannabis legalization seems particularly good for big tobacco, because I doubt Republicans are going to be less favorable to that industry.

 

What remains unclear (to me at least) is how courts would apply the dormant commerce clause to state cannabis laws under this bill or one like it.  For example, can a state continue to require that all cannabis sold in the state be grown in the state?  I didn't see any provision of the bill that addresses this issue, but the bill is 90 pages so I might have missed it.

 

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3 hours ago, KJP said:

The House may vote on a cannabis legalization bill this week.  The text of the bill, along with the Judiciary Committee report on it, are available here:  https://docs.house.gov/floor/Default.aspx?date=2022-03-28

 

As far as I can see, the bill would not preempt state cannabis laws; instead, it deschedules cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act and builds a new federal licensing and tax regime on top of existing state regulation.  In addition, it requires the FDA to hold public meetings "to address the regulation, safety, manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling, and sale of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds."  That sounds to me like the prelude for future FDA regulation of cannabis products, perhaps along the lines of the current FDA regulation of tobacco and now synthetic nicotine products.  As I have explained in another thread, FDA approval processes typically are time consuming and expensive, so they favor large, experienced players, like the tobacco companies.  So, overall I think this approach would be bullish for big tobacco.

 

This is a Democratic-sponsored bill, so even if it passes the House I doubt it does anywhere in the Senate anytime soon.  But the fact that Democrats are proposing this approach to cannabis legalization seems particularly good for big tobacco, because I doubt Republicans are going to be less favorable to that industry.

 

What remains unclear (to me at least) is how courts would apply the dormant commerce clause to state cannabis laws under this bill or one like it.  For example, can a state continue to require that all cannabis sold in the state be grown in the state?  I didn't see any provision of the bill that addresses this issue, but the bill is 90 pages so I might have missed it.

 

 

Surprisingly, there is Republican support for Federal legalization of cannabis.  The reason being is that many farmers who produce tobacco and other crops, want to move into cannabis.  There will be partisan issues within the bill that might hold it up, but once they reach a compromise, I suspect they will eventually pass this thing.  Cheers!

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