Joyce, Jeffries, Mast Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prepare for Inevitable End to Federal Cannabis Prohibition

Apr 14, 2022
Press

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) introduced legislation with Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and Brian Mast (FL-18) to better prepare the federal government for the inevitable end to cannabis prohibition. Titled the Preparing Regulators Effectively for a Post-Prohibition Adult Use Regulated Environment (PREPARE) Act, Joyce’s bipartisan bill creates a fair, honest and publicly transparent process for the federal government to establish effective regulation to be enacted upon the termination of its 85-year prohibition of cannabis. 

Joyce, Jeffries and Mast introduced the PREPARE Act to provide lawmakers across the ideological spectrum the opportunity to engage on cannabis reform, paving the way for more comprehensive reform down the road. Without such engagement, it is unlikely Congress can establish the bipartisan consensus necessary to enact the change Americans across the country have called for.

“With 91% of Americans supporting either medical or recreational cannabis legalization, it’s time for the federal government to respect the will of our voters – both Democrat and Republican alike – and begin a serious conversation about what a post-prohibition America should look like,” said Joyce. “No matter their opinion on descheduling, most lawmakers agree that the federal government cannot continue to interfere with the rights of the 48 states that have legalized cannabis to some degree. The PREPARE Act will give my colleagues on both sides of the aisle the answers they need to effectively engage on cannabis reform so that Congress can develop a federal regulatory framework that ensures not only a responsible end to prohibition, but also a safe future for our communities.”

“Americans across the political spectrum recognize that now is the time for cannabis reform,” said Jeffries. “Since the failed war on drugs began over 50 years ago, the prohibition of marijuana has ruined lives, families and communities – particularly communities of color. The PREPARE Act is one of the bipartisan solutions that will lay the groundwork to finally right these wrongs in a way that advances public safety and boosts our economy.”

“48 states have already legalized some form of cannabis, so I would say the cat is out of the bag and Congress needs to legislate based on the reality in front of us,” Mast said.  “The PREPARE Act is an important step to ensuring the necessary framework exists for a post-prohibition world.”

The PREPARE Act would direct the Attorney General of the United States to establish the ‘Commission on the Federal Regulation of Cannabis’ to advise on the development of a regulatory framework modeled after Federal and State regulatory frameworks with respect to alcohol. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Direct federal regulators to develop a regulatory and revenue framework to ensure safe production and consumption of cannabis, modeled after the alcohol industry which accounts for the unique needs, rights and laws of each state, and present such a framework to Congress within one year;
  • Build upon the Obama and Trump Administrations’ efforts to remedy the unjust consequences of the war on cannabis, particularly those suffered by minority, low-income, and veteran communities;
  • Help grant medical professionals critical research access and training, as well as economic opportunity to individuals and smalls businesses by providing access to the financial sector; and
  • Develop protections for the hemp industry, including cross pollination prevention efforts. 

“We applaud Reps. Joyce, Mast, and Jeffries for their leadership on Preparing Regulators Effectively for a Post-Prohibition Adult-Use Regulated Environment Act of 2022.  Today’s introduction sheds light on the increased and urgent need for serious discussions at the federal level regarding a sound regulatory framework for cannabis rooted in science and data — a CPEAR founding principle,” said Andrew Freedman, CPEAR Executive Director.

“It is critical that Congress thoughtfully prepare to regulate the rapidly growing legal consumer marketplace, especially now that the House has twice taken action on the criminalization of cannabis, both times with components to facilitate record expungement and allow the SBA to serve small businesses with the MORE Act. How to properly and efficiently address labeling, advertising, licensing, public health concerns, and other post-prohibition regulatory aspects are crucial components that have yet to be addressed in a bipartisan way and the PREPARE Act can be the vehicle to do just that,” said Justin Strekal of Better Organizing to Win Legalization.  

“As we contemplate Federal legalization, it is critical that we have input from the very agencies that will be involved in regulating our industry. The PREPARE Act provides a pathway for Federal agencies to set their expectations for cannabis businesses, so we are not left wondering what the impact policy changes will have on businesses and individual consumers. We applaud Congressman Joyce, Congressman Jeffries and Congressman Mast in leading this bill that commences the process of developing a thoughtful federal framework,” said Saphira Galoob, Executive Director National Cannabis Roundtable.

“The inclusion of Indigenous American stakeholders in the commission’s recommendations to create a regulatory structure for implementing the coming federal legalization of cannabis is a breakthrough for Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Pacific Islanders. This commission can correct some of the mistakes of omission that states have made in their rush to legalize with no consideration given to tribal stakeholders. We are extremely grateful to Representative Dave Joyce for this crucial bill,” said Tom Rodgers, acting president of the Global Indigenous Council and enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation.

“Voters across the country have spoken, as more and more states legalize cannabis for medical and adult-use.  Congress needs to resolve the inherent conflicts that now exist between federal and state laws.  The PREPARE Act establishes a Commission of experts and engaged regulators to better position the federal government for the inevitable day when cannabis is no longer listed on the Controlled Substances Act.  Reps. Joyce, Jeffries and Mast are leading the way proving bipartisanship avenues exist to pass cannabis reform,” said Wendy Bronfein, Chair of the National Medicinal Cannabis Coalition (NMCC).

As a conservative former prosecutor, Joyce has worked for years to expand the bipartisan consensus on the need to reform the federal government’s arcane cannabis policies, introducing bipartisan bills to advance the issue that can bring both Republicans and Democrats together, including the STATES Actthe Veterans Safe Harbor Actthe Common Sense Cannabis Reform Act, and the HOPE Act.

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