National Cannabis News: Lawmakers and Advocates Continue to Encourage Reform in 2023 

U. S. Capitol Building

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.

The new year is here and there’s no shortage of cannabis news headed into 2023. CWCBExpo is here to keep you in the loop about some of the biggest developments facing the industry. This month’s federal news update covers continued pleas for federal legalization (including from some elected officials), and an update on just how much cannabis was cultivated in 2022.

Lawmakers urge Biden to legalize cannabis federally

As the Biden administration continues its review of cannabis’ current federal scheduling, a group of bipartisan congressional lawmakers is urging the president to move for complete legalization. 

A letter written by the group of lawmakers and sent to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. expressed the effects that continued prohibition has had on the American people. Though Biden has been hesitant to back full legalization in the past, the letter outlines how his support could be critical for the future of America’s cannabis industry, reports Politico

“While we do not always agree on specific measures, we recognize across the aisle that continued federal prohibition and criminalization of marijuana does not reflect the will of the broader American electorate,” the letter says. “It is time that your administration’s agenda fully reflects this reality as well.”

Signees of the document include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chairs Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Brian Mast (R-FL). The letter is currently still in circulation on Capitol Hill and is expected to be published after a final decision is made on the SAFE Banking Act.

Department of Justice plans to speed up Biden’s pardon process

Just a few weeks after President Biden’s decision to clear records for thousands of federal possession convictions, The U.S. Department of Justice is looking to speed up the process. 

According to Marijuana Moment, pardon Attorney Elizabeth Oyer outlined a plan this week during a panel discussion hosted by Last Prisoner Project, where she shared the goal to provide applicants with a quick, efficient means of obtaining certificates for presidential marijuana pardons. According to her announcement, the new plan would allow people to gain pardon certificates through a 10-minute online application process. 

Oyer was not able to share precisely when the online application portal will open, though she expects it to be very soon. 

“We are hoping that we can expedite the process for applicants and for our review by using a web-based platform,” she said in an interview with Marijuana Moment. “We are working very closely with the Department of Justice’s IT department to develop and launch a web-based submission platform so that individuals can simply fill in their information online, click a button, submit the application, and it’s done.” 

Although formal forgiveness was automatic upon Biden’s signing of the proclamation on October 6th, 2022, the newly derailed plan is intended to provide official certificates to those who want physical proof of their pardoning. Additionally, Oyer noted that the online submissions would put the information into a format that makes it easier to review and process. 

U.S. cultivators produced more than 48.8 million pounds in 2022

Across both the legacy and regulated markets, U.S. cannabis cultivators produced more than 48.8 million pounds of flower in 2022 — more than enough to satisfy the entire nation’s demand, according to the 2022 U.S. Cannabis Supply Report. The report also found that, while legacy producers still outweigh licensed producers, the regulated market is projected to produce the majority of the nation’s cannabis by 2026 and that legal cannabis sales will grow to $81.6 billion by 2030.

Moreover, the overwhelming productive capacity between both the legacy and regulated markets means that, if the legacy market were to fully transition to the legal industry, the U.S. could become an exporter of surplus cannabis products. This comes at a time when other nations are legalizing cannabis or mulling an end to prohibition-era policies. If the export potential of the legal cannabis industry were realized, it could further fuel the growth of U.S. legal cannabis sales.

Start 2023 off in the know about cannabis industry trends

The legal cannabis industry has grown by leaps and bounds since the first states legalized markets, and 2023 is expected to be no different. No matter your area of expertise, staying up to date on all news, regulations and consumer trends is essential to establishing a successful operation. Resources like CWCBExpo’s monthly news updates and annual trade shows are a great way to set yourself up for success. Check back each month for updates on developments nationwide, as well as in the northeast.

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