New Report Presents Plan to Federally Legalize Marijuana Focused on Interstate Commerce

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BOSTON – Today, leading drug policy think tank Parabola Center for Law and Policy released a report, “How to Federally Legalize Cannabis Without Violating the Constitution or Undermining Equity and Justice,” outlining concerns that federal marijuana legalization would wipe out current state markets and replace them with a national monopoly. The report provides a blueprint for Congress to protect the almost 10,000 small businesses that make up most of the legal market in states and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they provide.

“Excitement for federal legalization is mounting because state programs have led to good jobs and a lot of progress toward our goals of equity and justice,” said Shaleen Title, founder and director of Parabola Center. “But flipping a switch to federally legalize marijuana would end all of that progress. Gradual implementation that protects small businesses and workers is the fairest option for everyone.”


Blueprint for Congress

Parabola Center suggests three constitutional policy solutions and model language that would protect states’ efforts toward equity and justice, and preserve the progress these states have already made in those areas by:

  • Explicitly allowing existing state cannabis laws to operate as designed and without disruption;
  • Allowing bona-fide social equity businesses, small businesses, and worker-owned businesses to engage in interstate commerce first; and
  • Limiting harmful impact by large corporations by preventing excessive consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, and establishing anti-monopoly provisions.

These recommendations for Congressional cannabis law reform will protect cannabis regulatory programs aimed at supporting small businesses and their employees; advancing labor protections; generating good, well-paying jobs; and creating access to the industry by those who were most harmed by cannabis prohibition and the War on Drugs.

The report is authored by Tamar Todd, an attorney with a long history of experience in drug policy who also serves as a lecturer at U.C. Berkeley School of Law, where she teaches a course on cannabis law and policy.Parabola Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank of legal professionals and drug policy experts that advocates for legalizing cannabis in a manner that protects people, not corporations.

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