States to Feds: End Cannabis Prohibition Now

After a vote last week, the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) adopted a revised cannabis policy measure (the “Directive“) which supports federally descheduling cannabis, as well as cannabis banking reform. At this point, it’s abundantly clear that the states have moved beyond cannabis prohibition.

The NCSL is a non-partisan organization that represents all state legislators nationwide. A state legislator present at the summit, held in Denver, said that most of the discussion leading up to the vote centered on federal cannabis banking reform, but there was no debate on the language of cannabis legalization. The legislator said that there was minimal opposition, with an estimated five to seven states of the 44 in attendance that vocalized their opposition.

NCSL passed similar measures back in 2017 and 2018 calling for cannabis descheduling, though those measures were limited in scope, specifying that states should be free to establish their own cannabis legislation without federal intervention. This time, the NCSL made an explicit call for federal cannabis legalization. The Directive also states that “until cannabis is federally descheduled,” the federal government should focus on enforcing penalties for criminal enterprises in “illicit” cannabis production and distribution instead of citizens who comply with state

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