WASHINGTON, D.C. – A coalition of advocacy organizations launched today that political news source Politico said could “change the dynamics of the marijuana legalization debate.” Several prominent nonprofits comprise the newly formed Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) including Koch brothers-founded political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity (AFP); Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank; cannabis trade organization Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce (GACC); and Mission Green/The Weldon Project, a group that advocates for individuals who have been negatively impacted by the war on drugs.
In its mission statement, CFA said it “seeks to end the prohibition and criminalization of cannabis in the United States.” The group also laid out four key areas of focus and what it plans to achieve:
- Federal de-scheduling and criminal justice reform. Complete removal of cannabis from the Schedules of the Controlled Substances Act to bring an end to cannabis criminalization, and allow innovation, industry, and research to thrive.
- Reentry and successful second chances. Ensure individuals who were formerly incarcerated or current grey-market operators are given a second chance in society and have an equal ability to contribute to the cannabis market during its transition from an illicit to legal market.
- Promoting entrepreneurship in free and open markets. Establish federal and state regulatory frameworks for cannabis which promote public safety while ensuring low barriers to entry and non-restrictive occupational and business licensing is the norm. Market rules must not allow control by crony interests or inhibit small companies and entrepreneurs through unnecessary limitations or overregulation.
- Competitive and reasonable tax rates. Ensure the total tax burden—federal, state, and local combined—imposed on cannabis businesses should not raise costs so as to incentivize the continuation of illicit markets.
The Weldon Project’s Weldon Anglos, who was pardoned by former president Donald Trump in December after having served thirteen years of a fifty-five-year sentence for marijuana trafficking, will serve as CFA co-coordinator alongside GACC’s Randal John Meyer.
“Ending cannabis prohibition and incarceration is a moral imperative,” said Angelos. “For too long, cruel laws punishing non-violent cannabis offenses have destroyed the lives of individuals throughout this country—myself included. It is high time that Congress and the President right this wrong and allow those harmed by cannabis prohibition the chance to participate in the cannabis industry like the millionaires and billionaires doing so now. But we can’t do this alone. We need both sides to come together on this, which is why we launched this coalition.”
According to Politico, a Zoom call between Angelos, Snoop Dogg, and Charles Koch last summer was the impetus behind the CFA’s formation, though Snoop is not formally involved with the organization.