May 2023 Federal Cannabis News: Reform Legislation Reintroduced as Industry Growth Continues

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Each month, Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) offers a convenient roundup of the biggest cannabis news stories and hemp headlines emerging across the nation. Get these updates in your inbox by subscribing to our email newsletter, or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter to get the most recent edition when it’s published.

CWCBExpo’s news updates provide a comprehensive overview of the ever-evolving cannabis industry landscape. This month’s federal news update highlights potential changes in legislation as well as updates on workplace drug testing. From the first hearing on the SAFE Banking Act (again!) to changes in federal drug testing laws, get ready to delve into the latest updates from across the nation. 

Lawmakers reintroduce bipartisan legislation for federal Legalization 

U.S. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have reintroduced a bill to set the basis for the federal legalization of adult-use cannabis. The bill called the “Preparing Regulators Effectively for a Post-Prohibition Adult Use Regulated Environment (PREPARE) Act,” was reintroduced last week by Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8). 

The PREPARE Act aims to foster collaboration among a wide range of experts in the pursuit of cannabis reform. It works toward the establishment of a federal regulatory system and strives to lay the groundwork for a more effective, informed, and inclusive approach to cannabis policy. 

“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,” said Jeffries in a press statement.

U.S. lawmakers have attempted to pass legislation affecting segments of the cannabis industry in the past through legislation like the MORE Act and the SAFE Banking Act. However, there has been no luck so far passing a bill on a national level that affects the cannabis industry. 

Senate holds first hearing on the SAFE Banking Act 

The Senate banking committee held its first-ever hearing on May 11th regarding a bipartisan bill that would formally codify banking best practices for the cannabis industry.

The meeting, coined “Examining Cannabis Banking Challenges of Small Businesses and Workers,” featured testimony from lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum, including Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT). Representatives from organizations such as the Cannabis Regulatory of Color Coalition, Drug Policy Alliance, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union presented their perspectives. 

“The cannabis landscape looks far different than it did a few short years ago,” Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said in a statement. “Cannabis has been legalized or decriminalized in almost every state. States and localities have established licensing and social equity programs to ensure that small businesses and communities impacted by the War on Drugs are part of the growing legal cannabis industry.”

While the bill has seen significant attention over the last few years with support from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), it’s still in the early stages of the legislative process. In order to become a law, it would need to pass the Senate and House before reaching the President’s desk for final approval. 

U.S. Department of Transportation finalizes cannabis testing policies

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) amended its drug testing policy, in a move that carries potential implications for commercial drivers, truckers, pilots, and other equipment operators who consume cannabis outside of work.

Published in the Federal Register on May 2nd, the notice explains that oral saliva testing for THC is now permitted. Prior to this rule change, urine-based tests were required. 

Because THC can show up in drug screenings for weeks or months after consumption, urine tests have received backlash among workers and advocates who say these tests are ineffective and can infringe on privacy. These affected workers could be sober on the job, but may show up as positive for THC anyway. Oral saliva testing aims to adapt drug testing methods to better align with the evolving landscape of cannabis use, as THC is detectable in saliva for up to 72 hours after consumption. 

“Allowing employers to use oral fluid testing may improve the effectiveness of drug testing,” the DOT stated. “Oral fluid testing can detect the recent use of some drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, while urine drug testing has a longer window of detection.”

Stay informed with CWCBExpo 

To stay informed and up-to-date with the latest developments in federal cannabis news, there is no better place than CWCBExpo. Our news updates provide valuable insights, analysis, and resources. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for our upcoming in-person trade show – where you can connect with other industry leaders and fully immerse yourself in the cannabis community.  Join us at CWC to stay ahead of the curve and be a part of the dynamic growth of the cannabis industry.

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