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Mayors Form First-of-its-Kind Coalition to Push for Marijuana Regulation Reform in Congress

BOSTON –  With an increasing amount of states and local governments taking their first steps into the new frontier of legalized marijuana, governments need Federal marijuana regulatory reforms in order to safely and thoughtfully implement the will of their voters.

At the 86th annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston, Mayor Michael B. Hancock, the first U.S. Mayor to launch locally legalized recreational cannabis, met with the members of the first-of-its-kind government-led coalition to establish a national framework to proactively prepare governments for implementation of legalized marijuana.

“With 46 states having some form of legalization, the reality is legal marijuana is coming to a city near you. 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,” Mayor Hancock said. “We all will face common challenges when it comes to legalizing marijuana, and those challenges need federal solutions so implementation can be done smoothly, safely and effectively.”

See map of legalization across the U.S. attached.

The end of the 21st Century’s prohibition is spreading across the U.S. and the Government for Responsible U.S. Cannabis Policy Coalition will take what their cities have learned about implementation, regulation, taxation, and youth education, and push for Congress and the Administration to take actions that will better prepare state and local governments to manage legalization locally.

Cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland are among those who recognize the critical need for Federal reforms, which is why they signed onto the resolution for Urging Federal Support for State and Local Government Regulations of Cannabis in response to the 46 states, Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico that have legalized cannabis in some form. 

The resolution requests Federal support in a number of critical areas, including:

  • Removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, which would allow banks and other financial institutions to work with state-compliant marijuana-related businesses, and allow employers in the cannabis industry to take tax deductions similar to those enjoyed by other businesses.
  • Providing updated guidance to financial institutions that are providing or seek to provide services to commercial cannabis businesses.
  • Approving the McClintock-Polis amendment to annual federal appropriations legislation to safeguard state and local government marijuana reforms.
  • Extending safe and legal access to medicinal marijuana to U.S. military veterans.
  • Maintaining the Rohrabacher-Joyce-Blumenauer amendment, which protects states’ rights by prohibiting the federal government from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.

If the resolution is passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Monday, the USCM will use input from their bipartisan mayoral members to create federal policy recommendations to be submitted to Congress starting in 2019. The Coalition will work to advocate for these recommendations.  

The sponsors of the resolution are:

  • Christopher L. Cabaldon, Mayor of West Sacramento, CA
  • Jenny A. Durkan, Mayor of Seattle, WA
  • Mark Farrell, Mayor of San Francisco, CA
  • Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, CA
  • Carolyn G. Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas, NV
  • Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver, CO
  • Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland, OR

The Government for Responsible U.S. Cannabis Policy Coalition is to:

  • Build sustained awareness with Congress and the Administration of the challenges and opportunities with marijuana legalization and to advocate for balanced, federal regulation that addresses these issues;
  • Create the first broad coalition of local governments that can provide sustained attention to marijuana issues;
  • Enhance strategic engagement with Congress and the Administration to advance federal regulatory and legislative actions including identifying opportunities to testify before Congress about marijuana; and
  • Share best practices among local governments to help advance responsible local control over marijuana.

The initial Mayors who have committed to advocate for reform through the Coalition are:

  • Mark Farrell, Mayor of San Francisco, CA
  • Jenny A. Durkan, Mayor of Seattle, WA
  • Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver, CO
  • Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland, CA
  • Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland, OR
  • Heidi Williams, Mayor of Thornton, CO