As the potential impact of the historic April 13th Trump-Gardner “states-rights’ cannabis” deal sunk in, primary drivers at a “multi-million dollar” industry lobby group confirmed they are “ready to bring adequate resources” to shepherd a strong bill, and build-upon the new momentum generated by the surprise development.
“It’s tremendous progress,” declared Neal Levine, managing director of the New Federalism Fund which has committed millions to push a comprehensive solution for ending 280e over-taxation, providing MJ banking access, and countering crippling retailer/grower enforcement actions like civil asset forfeitures and regional raids.
At New Cannabis Ventures‘ Global Cannabis Stock Index, most of the Canadian and US public cannabis firms tracked saw a 9% to 11% jump in stock values as the Trump/Gardner news solidified future prospects. The index—created by leading MJ analyst Alan Brochstein—had concluded a declining first quarter for 2018, suffering more than 20% losses. But the index rose on prospects for an end to the federal threat.
“This news has helped stabilize the Canadian firm’s outlook,” Brochstein told West420, adding that the overall U.S. solution will “take a lot longer” to complete.
See daily updates on the index here.
For his part, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is reportedly also supportive of continued banking regulatory clarity for financial institutions looking to bank the MJ sector, as well as reconfirming key parts of the FinCen and Bank Secrecy Act guidance.
Responding to the input of several federal MJ congressional pioneers—Rohrabacher, Booker, Blumenauer, Paul, Polis, Gillebrand, Hatch, Mclintock and others—the bill parameters would be searching for a state-legal template—possibly a binding revised Cole Memo.
Conversely, proponents seeking to address the controlled substance level will likely continue the debate over complete CSA removal (a de-facto national legalization), versus a more incremental approach of pushing for a re-designation to schedule 2, which would increase pharmaceutical MJ access and research) or schedule 3, which would clearly allow all MJ firms to escape IRS section 280e, high-taxation issues.
With over 32 different House and Senate bills aimed at various fixes to the cannabis regulatory patchwork, it remains difficult to see how a Senate side “master” bill might be completed by late summer.
As a result of all these new praises for Trump keeping his state’s rights campaign promise and dismissals of a long-term presidential priority to fix the state-vs-feds mess, clearly, MJ basher attorney general Jeff Sessions is now on notice to stop his personal vendetta against both MMJ and RMJ access.
Referring to the Peanuts cartoon strip, University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin hopes Trump doesn’t pull back the football (ala Lucy) as Gardner runs to kick it off.
Gardner agreed to drop his holds on several Justice department nominees which will now be considered in the Senate.
An acknowledgement followed by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who said Trump held a long-standing support for “states rights.”
Several Congressional members applauded the deal as a sensible breakthrough. U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat and the co-founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, called Gardner’s announcement “another head-spinning moment.” The Oregon representative has fought for Veterans access to cannabis, and for a wide view of how to offer a flat 10% federal tax on all cannabis sales in return for national legalization.
Long Beach congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and his long-time ally Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) will likely offer major ideas on an eventual Gardner-Trump settlement bill. They both have solidified protection for all 30-states with legal MMJ systems and could extend much of that approach to recreational programs.
Rohrabacher is a close associate of President Trump, and he has signaled his support for the next potential Speaker-of-the-House Kevin McCarthy (a fellow Californian) whom Rohrabacher sees as much friendlier to cannabis reform than current speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Moving recalcitrant Senate Democrats (see below) will also be another critical piece of the near term effort.
Catching its collective breath, the industry generally was favorable to the April 13th announcement, with another group more skeptical, but grateful that Jeff Sessions’ reign of terror over MJ has calmed.
Additional efforts to denigrate legal MJ states could be expected to be curtailed, even as the open question of how long Sessions may be around the administration at all.
Trump’s political troubles aside—the positive response from the federal government comes from the highest level. “This action is a game-changer, no matter how you look at it,” noted Levine, now a corporate executive at LivWell, sixteen years after he began his pro-cannabis career at Marijuana Policy Project in 2002.
With this development, NCIA‘s Washington DC Lobby Days coming May 21-23 is expected to take on another level of strategic importance.
And while many conservative Republicans may be lost causes to supporting state’s rights for cannabis, a scan of NORML’s least supportive Democrats include: Senators Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Maria Cantwell (Washington), Tom Carper (Delaware), Catherine Cortez-Masto (Nevada), Dianne Feinstein (California), Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), Joe Manchin (West Virginia), Bob Menendez (New Jersey), and both Michigan Democratic senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.
BELOW: Last year, a health care huddle pictured below with President Trump (center) was joined by marijuana state GOP senators (from left): Dean Heller (Nevada), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowsky (Alaska) and Cory Gardner (Colorado).