Say it with us, dear readers: the Preparing Regulators Effectively for a Post-Prohibition Adult Use Regulated Environment Act. Whew! It’s a rather forced acronym for PREPARE, and it’s the latest in a string of federal legislation that may or may not ever make it through Congress.
As things currently stand on Capitol Hill, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) being shepherded by Senators Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker and Ron Wyden is losing some momentum. Originally touted as a sure thing to be introduced in spring, Schumer is now talking about filing the bill right before the Senate’s August recess. That’s because as of today the votes aren’t there; all 50 Democratic senators plus 10 Republican senators would be needed to pass it.
Although the House has already passed the MORE Act, Schumer as Senate Majority Leader has given his own CAOA priority as the first bill the Senate will take up — so comprehensive reform including full federal legalization still seems a long way off. Perhaps as a way to jump start some action, Representatives Dave Joyce, Hakeem Jeffries and Brian Mast introduced the PREPARE Act to make the federal government ready for what they call the “inevitable end to cannabis prohibition.”
The PREPARE Act is a bipartisan measure designed to provide a framework for the individual federal regulatory agencies that will be charged with setting cannabis policies. According to the sponsors, passage of the bill would:
- Direct the U.S. Attorney General to establish a federal commission to oversee development of federal regulations modeled after the alcohol industry.
- Build on previous efforts to remedy the consequences from the federal government’s wide‑ranging crackdown on cannabis, particularly those suffered by minority, low-income and veteran communities.
- Help grant medical professionals access to cannabis research.
- Provide economic opportunity to individuals and small businesses by providing access to the financial sector.
- Develop protections for the hemp industry,
Is it likely to gain traction? Well, the House has just passed the Medical Marijuana Research Act, sending forward legislation that would allow researchers to access cannabis from state‑legal dispensaries instead of just the one DEA-approved facility. But with the current focus on Ukraine and the coming midterm elections, it’s not likely to take center stage.