The nonprofit Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF) has hired 15 lobbyists in an effort to pass the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act in 2019, The Hill reports.
The bipartisan STATES Act was introduced by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) in 2018. It was reported at the time that Trump had said he would support the bill if it made it to his desk. Little progress was made, however, as Republicans in control of many key committees and both houses of Congress blocked the reforms.
“So [the STATES Act is] the one piece of legislation from our intel that we think we have a legitimate chance to pass into law that would fundamentally address all of the major issues that the cannabis industry faces today.” — Neal Levine, CEO of the CTF, via The Hill.
The bill’s main purpose is to modify the Controlled Substances Act to allow for each state to pass its own legislation regarding cannabis. Any business operating legally under state law would be allowed access to services such as banking and insurance, which are currently unavailable due to federal prohibition.
The 15 lobbyists hired by the CTF are just the beginning, said CEO Neal Levine. The CTF is seeking an end to the excessive tax penalties for the cannabis industry, as well as fears of “the Department of Justice kicking in our doors.”
“This is all part of the cannabis industry growing up, coming into the mainstream, acting like every other industry that’s out there,” said Levine. “This is just the natural part of our evolution.”