Thanks to over 150 cannabis industry professionals, and over 50 amazing panelists, for helping compile all the public policy recommendations at the Cannabis Public Policy Conference last March 5-6 here in Denver! Here’s the link to the final report, and just to give you a taste, here’s the Executive Summary of the 30 page report:
“Executive Summary of the Final Report of the Cannabis Public Policy Conference
On March 5-6, 2020 in Denver, Colorado, over 150 cannabis professionals and public policy makers gathered at the Cannabis Public Policy Conference with the goal of normalizing cannabis by advising the on-going improvement of public policies in this still-nascent industry.
The specific recommendations of the conference are spelled out in this report. A few common themes emerge from the conference:
- The SAFE Banking Act would make dispensaries safer and is a smart first step toward legitimizing the business of cannabis.
- Taxes on the cannabis industry are onerous, and while the industry welcomed taxation early as a path to legitimacy, multiple layers of municipal taxes can pinch, and IRS280E, with a 70% effective tax rate, is beyond unreasonable.
- Federal prohibition was a failure and a clear majority of Americans want clean, safe, regulated access to legal, reasonably taxed cannabis.
- The regulatory climate continues to mature. However, due to a lack of federal policy, or even guidance, every state is rolling out their own regulatory framework. The 30+ states allowing distribution of cannabis require 30+ different types of packaging and labeling, for example.
- Burdensome laws from the federal government prevent research of cannabis. Colorado’s new program to allow state regulated research is showing early promise. One thing is clear – critics and proponents alike call for more research on this complex plant full of medicinal value.
- Cannabis is uniquely qualified to make amends for the injustices the War on Drugs perpetrated across communities of color. The industry is a willing, if slightly reluctant, partner. This report attempts to define social equity, as well as propose potential remedies.
- Expungement of past criminal records is one method to atone for the injustices of the past. But expungement alone is not a social equity program.
- Single use plastic is a scourge across our society, and some regulations in cannabis could be eased to reduce the dependence on single use plastics. Additionally, biodegradable hemp plastic may be a potential breakthrough in the fight against the pollution of plastic.
- Climate Change – As the climate crisis deepens, cannabis and hemp provide a number of positive effects on the environment, including carbon sequestration, low water usage, durability of products and soil remediation.
- Hemp should be treated like a normal crop. “Hot” crops (over .3% THc content) should be allowed other uses, remediation or to be plowed under, not subject to costly destruction.
- Collaborative efforts between industry and regulators, like Colorado’s MED Rule Making sessions and the Colorado Agriculture Department CHAMP sessions, create better outcomes and are a model not just for cannabis but all regulators.
- Double standards abound for the industry. Virginia, the original tobacco state, recently legalized medical marijuana – but not smokable flower, which many consider the best, purest form of the plant.
- Member associations like NCIA and NACB are powerful institutions, and industry participants are strongly encouraged to join and support one or more industry associations to accelerate the end of prohibition and the next phase.
All these recommendations, and those that follow in this report, are the common themes which emerged from the work of many people across multiple facets of the cannabis industry. This report is a good-faith attempt to counsel and advise policy makers on the current state of the cannabis industry. Included are possible paths to bring the future forward faster!
To see video of many of these sessions, visit our You Tube Channel.
To download a copy of this report, visit our website, www.2020GrowthConferences.com.
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