Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser (D) recently wrote a letter to congressional leaders regarding the future of the cannabis industry.
The prospect of federal marijuana reform is looking more and more likely each day but small Colorado marijuana businesses may not rejoice. Weiser expressed his concern that Big Tobacco and other industry giants could overtake small marijuana businesses if Congress does not take steps to protect them.
The specific bill the Weiser addressed is the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). This bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other prominent Democratic senators, aims to federally de-schedule marijuana. In his letter, Weiser pushed for careful consideration and management of the evolving federal regulation of the cannabis industry. Without it, he argued, large companies would be able to move into the market and completely displace smaller businesses.
What exactly the national marijuana market would look like in the light of federal legalization remains to be seen. Schumer has stated that his bill would aim to restrict large tobacco and related companies from taking over the industry like Weiser is calling for.
Weiser made the point that states like his own Colorado that legalized marijuana previously have gained valuable “institutional knowledge” about managing the industry. That knowledge might be a great asset to the lawmakers who are trying to legislate reform.
Writing federal legislation that takes into all these potential concerns and opportunities while reforming marijuana laws will be no easy feat.