Washington, D.C. – Today, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Senators Cory Booker (D-NY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAO Act), a bill that would end cannabis prohibition and lay the foundation for an equitable cannabis industry. The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) applauds the Senators and their staff for this unprecedented undertaking. This bill is the most comprehensive and equitable federal cannabis legalization bill to-date. As introduced, the CAO Act includes robust provisions to help ensure those most impacted by the disparate enforcement of unjust cannabis laws can participate in the legal industry.
“The CAO Act represents a giant leap forward in federal cannabis policy by outlining the most meaningful solutions to address issues facing minority cannabis businesses we’ve seen in a federal legalization bill to-date,” said Kaliko Castille, President of MCBA.
Last year, MCBA submitted over 30 pages of comments outlining suggested amendments to the discussion draft to help provide equitable outcomes for those most impacted by marijuana prohibition. MCBA is pleased to see much of the feedback reflected in the bill, including:
- Timely funding of equity programs through appropriations
- Improved access to SBA funding
- Improved funding and support for minority cannabis businesses
- Prioritizing cannabis research in minority serving institutions, including HBCUs
“So often industry equity and economic justice are afterthoughts or accessories to cannabis legalization. Through its robust equity provisions, the CAO Act affirms that help to ensure those most impacted by prohibition must play a foundational role in cannabis reform,” said Amber Littlejohn, Executive Director of MCBA.
We will continue to review the legislation and share our feedback on the bill. We look forward to working with the Senate and House to bring an end to cannabis prohibition, restore impacted communities, and create an equitable cannabis and just industry.