Federal cannabis reform will be created in the image and likeness of whichever political party is in office when it finally happens.
And don’t we know it? In fact, last week Bill Maher bemoaned that “Republicans are going to steal the issue, I think eventually.” The Real Time talk show host, who was speaking with former attorney General Eric Holder, is probably right.
Republicans, with their keep taxes low and government regulation to a minimum approach, might be better equipped psychologically and practically to legalize cannabis, their conservative Christian wing notwithstanding.
Whereas the Dems are more disposed to taxes, regulations and, to their credit, a strong emphasis on social equity and justice as seen by an across-the-board push for expungement, their prohibitionist President notwithstanding.
How Do We Know This?
Just take a look at the two major cannabis reform proposals – one from each party – that have been circulating in and out of the halls of Congress as well as state legislatures.
Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer along with Sens. Cory Booker and Ron Wyden launched their Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), which will, we’re told, be introduced in August after several false starts.
Then there’s Rep. Nancy Mace’s (R-SC) States Reform Act (SRA), which when introduced in 2021 was warmly greeted.
Both bills would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, thus legalizing it federally…a good start. Many in the industry concur that the Dems’ CAOA leans more toward social justice and therefore enjoys support from the Marijuana Justice Coalition, which includes the ACLU and Human Rights Watch.
Mace’s SRA is more big-business centered and enjoys the backing of the Cannabis Freedom Alliance, which includes the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity.
So, whose legalization bill and by extension which congressional candidates are executives of the U.S.’s highest-valued cannabis companies supporting?
If you guessed Nancy Mace, go to the head of the class.
Cannabis Wire did some digging into the Congressional campaign contributions made by executives of the following multistate operators:
Ascend Wellness AAWH
Ayr Wellness AYR AYRWF
Canopy Growth CGC
Columbia Care CCHWF
Cresco Labs CL CRLBF
Curaleaf Holdings CURA CURLF
Green Thumb Industries GTBIF GTII
Trulieve OTCQX: TCNNF) TRUL
Verano Holdings VRNOF
Of these companies, six CEOs made a campaign contribution in 2022. Four of them gave to Mace alone. One gave to Mace and to Gary Chambers, a Democrat from Louisiana who is running for Senate. And one gave only to Chambers, who made headlines in January when he smoked a joint in one of his campaign ads.
So yeah, Bill Maher might have a point.