An indoor cannabis facility which would benefit from federal cannabis legalization.

Cannabis Legalization: New Push to End Federal Prohibition

While talk of cannabis legalization increased in during the 2020 election and into President Biden’s first year in office, perhaps the most important move toward legalization at the federal level came from unexpected quarters.

On November 15, a Republican member of the House Nancy Mace introduced a bill that would end the federal prohibition on cannabis.

The legislation would focus on the inclusion of cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act. The move would remove the Schedule I designation and allow states to treat cannabis and cannabis products like alcohol. That includes a federal age limit of 21 years old, though states may be allowed to add exceptions to that age limit based on medical need.

Cannabis and Interstate Commerce

Most importantly, the bill would shift away from state-based commerce laws. There are 36 states that allow recreational and medical marijuana, but few of those states have identical laws and requirements. Mace’s bill would allow interstate commerce, as well as improve access for cannabis producers and distributors to access financial services.

GOP Cannabis Bill Similar to Democrat Plan

The GOP effort meets many of the same talking points as the Sen. Schumer-sponsored bill from the spring of 2021. Both remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act’s list and allow for both banking access and interstate commerce. Schumer’s plan included a 10% excise tax, which would increase to 25% five years after the bill becomes law. Mace’s plan proposes a 3% tax, with no increase for the first 10 years.

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Mace Cannabis Bill Sees Industry Support

While the bill lacks many of the social justice efforts included in Schumer’s draft, most notably fewer allowances for drug arrest record expungement, the cannabis industry largely supports the proposed bill. The lower tax rate, more lenient sentencing, and financial considerations all indicate an understanding of the challenges facing the cannabis space.


Cannabis Legalization: What’s Missing

Of course, Mace’s bill makes no mention of sustainability or energy-based requirements on cannabis production. Despite well-documented and skyrocketing energy use by the cannabis industry, Mace’s bill offers little direction in ensuring the industry grows responsibly. We would like to see grants and rebate programs funding by the federal government to reward cannabis facilities that invest in growing more efficiently and more responsibly.

Let’s Grow Together

At Keen Technical Solutions, we’re working with cannabis facilities to keep the cannabis industry green. From LED lights to advanced environmental control systems, we bring more than a decade of energy efficiency expertise to the marijuana business. Contact Keen Technical Solutions today to get started.