Seven Mayors of Major Cities Call for Cannabis Policy Reform

The mayors of seven large U.S. cities in states with adult-use laws formed a coalition on Monday asking the U.S. federal government to remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances, reports the Chicago Tribune. Mayors from Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and West Sacramento sponsored a resolution at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston which was approved unanimously by the organization.

“As mayors of cities that have successfully implemented and managed this new industry, we have hands-on experience that can help Congress take the right steps to support other local governments as they prepare to enter this new frontier. We all face common challenges.” — Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, via the Chicago Tribune

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said cannabis businesses employ thousands of people and generate millions of dollars in revenue in Oregon. In an email, Wheeler clearly supported legalization.

“Cannabis prohibition has failed. It has failed to keep our children safe, it has failed law enforcement, and it has especially failed communities of color disproportionately targeted and prosecuted for low-level drug offenses. Eventually, legalization will come to every state — and we want to make sure it’s done so safely and effectively.” — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, in an email to the Chicago Tribune

The resolution was spurred by President Donald Trump’s apparent support for a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Gardner, titled the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States” or STATES Act. The STATES Act would install protections for states that have passed adult-use cannabis laws and allow cannabis businesses in those states to access banking and government services.

The resolution adopted by the mayors asks Congress for a variety of concessions, including:

  • Deschedule cannabis entirely from the Controlled Substances Act.
  • Allow employers in the cannabis industry to benefit from typical business tax deductions.
  • Give guidance for the financial industry to provide banking services to cannabis businesses.
  • Improve legal access to MMJ for veterans

Starting next year and as a result of this resolution, the U.S. Conference of Mayors will now make federal policy recommendations to submit to the U.S. Congress.

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