A round up of industry reaction to the President’s announcement Thursday.
This article has been updated to include additional reactions.
Participants in the cannabis industry at all levels generally agree that President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday is a positive step. But most also agree that it’s just a first step, and much more needs to be done.
Here’s a round up of industry reaction to the announcement:
Todd Harrison, founding partner and CIO, CB1 Capital
(This announcement is) long overdue for the prisoners of nonviolent cannabis offenders and, depending on where Biden lands on scheduling, could well solve for banking, capital markets, and 280E, which has choked off industry growth and disadvantaged social justice and small businesses.
Kassandra Frederique, executive director, Drug Policy Alliance
This is incredibly long overdue. … We, however, hope that the Biden Administration will go further and fully deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, rather than initiate a process that could lead to rescheduling. Keeping marijuana on the federal drug schedule will mean people will continue to face criminal charges for marijuana. It also means that research will continue to be inhibited and state-level markets will be at odds with federal law.
Kim Rivers, CEO, Trulieve
This is truly a lifechanging day for thousands of individuals who have had their livelihoods and opportunities negatively impacted over simple cannabis possession charges. These are monumental actions to address long-overdue criminal justice and federal cannabis policy reforms, and we look forward to (HHS) Secretary (Xavier) Becerra’s and Attorney General Garland’s review of federal cannabis classification.
Erik Altieri, executive director, NORML
Many of the efforts taken and proposed by the President today are long overdue. Since 1965, nearly 29 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana-related violations – for activities that the majority of voters no longer believe ought to be a crime.
Moving forward, the Administration must work collaboratively with Congressional leadership to repeal America’s failed marijuana criminalization laws. Nearly half of voters now agree that legalizing marijuana ought to be a priority of Congress, and such action can only be taken by descheduling cannabis and repealing it from the US Controlled Substances Act – thereby regulating it in a manner similar to alcohol.
Michael Bronstein, president, American Trade Association for Cannabis & Hemp
This is a necessary first step in acknowledging that the application of federal marijuana laws are unacceptable and that broader reform is urgently needed. … We hope this foreshadows a series of steps to achieve common sense cannabis reform, such as access to banking, 280E reform, and other issues stemming from outdated federal law.
We must boldly continue taking the next steps to achieve comprehensive cannabis reform that will ensure public safety, promote economic growth, create a diverse and inclusive industry, and undo the damage of failed federal prohibition.
Chris Ball, CEO, Ball Family Farms
I know what it feels like when your conviction stops you from earning a living. And it’s even worse when you now see people making millions off the same plant. What Biden is doing will give people a fresh start. It’s life changing.
I hope more cannabis companies take this opportunity to hire former felons. Give people a shot to work within the legal framework. It will benefit the culture. Let’s use this as a step toward equity.
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