Weiser urges Congress to look to Colorado for regulated cannabis market framework, urges preservation of state cannabis laws
Aug. 25, 2021 (DENVER)—Attorney General Phil Weiser is urging U.S. congressional leaders to preserve the integrity of state cannabis laws as it considers legislation to provide a path for responsible federal regulation of the industry.
In a letter sent this week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Weiser recognizes the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act as a promising step to broader legalization measures, and he recommends Congress include states in the process of designing a federal regulatory system for cannabis and rely on the expertise of states in any transition to a national market for cannabis.
“As the first state to have a regulated retail market for cannabis, we have worked hard to develop a just, fair, and effective legal framework in this field,” said Weiser. “I am heartened to see movement in Congress to follow this model and create a federal framework to allow for state legalization efforts.”
States that decriminalized or legalized cannabis recorded several positive outcomes, including reduced incarceration of people whose consumption of marijuana poses no danger to society, which in turn reduced the impact on the criminal justice system and communities of color that are disproportionately affected by cannabis laws.
However, the letter states, challenges remain, including a need for additional and more in-depth scientific and peer-reviewed research on the complexities of the cannabis plant and its effects on users.
A regulatory model that applies appropriate federal health and safety standards to protect consumers engaged in interstate commerce, while preserving the states’ role in the regulation and control of distribution outlets, will provide the strongest possible protections against known and unknown risks associated with legalization, Weiser said.
Colorado also previously led other states in urging the passage of the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow cannabis companies to access the federal banking system.