The big news this week involves yet another stab at federal cannabis reform. This time, the HOPE Act comes from U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Dave Joyce (R-Ohio).
The bill would “incentivize state and local governments to expunge the criminal records of tens of millions of Americans who have previously been convicted of marijuana offenses,” according to the team at NORML.
Passage of the bill would also allocate $20 million to the U.S. Attorney General to do just that.
“This bipartisan effort represents the growing consensus to reform marijuana policies in a manner that addresses the harms inflicted by prohibition,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said in a public statement. “It provides cash assistance for state and localities that are wisely choosing to remove these stigmatizing records. There is no justification for continuing to prevent tens of millions of Americans from fully participating in their community and workforce simply because they bear the burden of a past marijuana conviction.”
We’ve rounded up some of the key cannabis headlines from the week right here.
Aurora Cannabis named its new genetic licensing business, Occo, which is backed by the company’s breeding and genetics facility in Comox, British Columbia, Canada. Read more California is working to develop statewide standardized cannabis testing to minimize inconsistencies in data from one lab to the next. Read more Democratic Rep. Nima Kulkarni has pre-filed two cannabis bills ahead of Kentucky’s 2022 legislative session to decriminalize and legalize adult-use cannabis in the state. Read more NORML has a nice 2021 overview of state legislation, and, yes, it’s been quite a busy year. Read more A budtender who was fired earlier this month for “lack of trust” and “poor work ethic,” as he helped organize a unionization effort, returned to work last week at the Burnside Buds dispensary in Victoria, British Columbia. Read more
And elsewhere on the web, here are the stories we’ve been reading this week:
Anchorage Daily News: “No one’s having a ton of fun.” That’s the quote that tops this story out of Alaska, where the cannabis market is not making things easy for operators. Read more KOB4: “New Mexico will provide business loans of up to $250,000 toward small-scale cannabis businesses in an effort to provide economic opportunity to communities that were hit hard by past criminal enforcement of marijuana laws.” Read more The Intercept: “A push by House Democrats to enact marijuana banking reform as an amendment to a must-pass defense bill gained new momentum last week with a show of support from a bipartisan group of senators. But interviews with a number of Senate Democrats show a divided caucus, despite the potential to make progress on one of the party’s longtime policy priorities.” Read more Tampa Bay Times: “After years of partisan squabbling over the fate of Florida’s medical marijuana program, Democrats and Republicans are coming together to push what they’re calling a major reform bill. It could make it a lot harder for Floridians to get their hands on delta-8 THC products.” Read more 13NewsNow: Home grow is already taking root under Virginia’s recently passed cannabis law. Read more