White House Press Sec. Jen Psaki reiterates President Joe Biden’s position on cannabis.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to voice his support for ending the federal prohibition on cannabis.
“Today is what you might call a very unofficial American holiday: 4/20,” Schumer said. “The War on Drugs has too often been a war on people: particularly people of color. For decades, young men and women, disproportionately young men and women of color, have been arrested and jailed for even carrying a small amount of marijuana—a charge that often came with exorbitant penalties and a serious criminal record, from which they might never recover. Being rejected from job after job—because of this minor, minor deviation from the law, which was listed as a serious criminal record. It makes no sense and it’s time for a change.”
Then, President Joe Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki fielded several questions from a reporter referencing Sen. Schumer’s statements.
“The president supports leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts, and at the federal level, he supports decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records. He also supports legalizing medicinal marijuana.”
The reporter pushed and asked if Biden would support a legalization bill sent to his desk.
“I just have outlined what his position is, which isn’t the same as what the House and Senate have proposed. But they have not yet passed a bill,” Psaki said.
On 4/20, House Small Business Committee members announce cannabis bills.
Committee Chairwoman New York Rep. Nydia Velázquez introduced The Ensuring Safe Capital Access for All Small Businesses Act of 2021, which would allow the cannabis industry to apply for SBA-backed loans, including microloans and disaster relief.
Pennsylvania Rep. Dwight Evans introduced H.R. 2649, or the Homegrown Act of 2021, which would provide even more direct assistance to the cannabis industry by creating an SBA grant program to give state and local governments funding to help small business owners who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs navigate things like licensing.
“My bill would help small businesses to participate in this industry and knock down barriers to jobs and entrepreneurship for people most adversely impacted by the war on cannabis, which has been especially harsh for people of color,” Evans said in a statement, calling his bill a “poverty-buster.”
Maine Rep. Jared Golden introduced H.R. 2652, the Ensuring Access to Counseling and Training Programs for All Small Business Act of 2021, which would block SBA “resource partners” from rejecting an “otherwise qualified” small business just because they work in the cannabis industry.
Ohio to more than double its dispensary count.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy decided on Monday to award an additional 73 medical cannabis dispensary licenses, which, in addition to the existing 57, would bring the state’s total to 130.
Licenses will be awarded by lottery, with one held for applicants in each “dispensary district,” of which there are 31 in the state.
The Board detailed the thinking behind the expansion during a presentation, citing a rising patient population and a need for access.