In July 2021, three Democratic senators—Cory Booker, Ron Wyden, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer—distributed a discussion draft of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, a major bill promising sweeping reforms of cannabis regulation at the federal level, notably descheduling the substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The senators’ offices invited public comment from stakeholders. On February 10, 2022, these senators announced they had received over 1,800 stakeholder comments and circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter soliciting other senators to provide input, guidance, and advice before the formal introduction of the bill, which is expected in April.
In their letter, the senators argued that “the federal government has an important role to play” regarding cannabis. According to the senators, the discrepancy between state and federal law can lead to “confusion and uncertainty and raises significant questions around criminal justice reform, economic development and small business growth, and public health and safety,” all of which requires “some type of federal answer.” The senators concluded that the Senate is “long overdue” in addressing the implications of cannabis, and invited their colleagues to share their states’ experiences as the bill continues to take shape.
The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act is expected to be introduced in April 2022. In the weeks ahead, the senators plan to incorporate the comments received from stakeholders and aim to make the bill “as reflective of as many relevant views and voices as possible.”