During my tenure as Colorado’s first Director of the Marijuana Enforcement Division, I had the pleasure of working with Christian Sederberg. Christian is a fellow pioneer within the cannabis business, founding what Rolling Stone journal calls “the nation’s first powerhouse marijuana legislation agency” Vicente Sederberg LLP in Colorado in 2010. He performed an integral position within the passage and implementation of Colorado’s cannabis legalization initiative in 2012, and was nominated by then Governor John Hickenlooper to serve on the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force.
Since Colorado’s authorized cannabis market efficiently launched, he’s added extra nationwide campaigns to his resume, working because the board chair and interim CEO of the Cannabis Trade Federation and main the helm as board chair for federal legalization at the newly shaped U.S. Cannabis Council. As extra states and international locations open authorized cannabis markets, Christian presents a singular view on the viability of nationwide legalization and its impacts on present state markets. I had the prospect to catch up with Christian and talk about renewed federal momentum underneath the Biden administration.
What are your ideas on the hyper partisan local weather in D.C.?
It is determined by in the event that they eliminate the filibuster rule. If you comply with the banking bill, about a 3rd of the Senate are co-sponsors. A bunch of Republicans in each the House and Senate have been leaping in. Representative Stivers, on the Republican aspect, is a prime co-sponsor within the House.
Slowly, I believe, there’s going to be extra motion on the Republican aspect partly as a result of there are actual impacts for the 2022 election. There are doubtless going to be legalization initiatives on the ballot within the Ohio and Missouri U.S. Senate races. actual impacts for the 2022 election. How will these Senate candidates strategy legalization? How will they body this? I believe Martha McSally, who misplaced her race in Arizona the place legalization handed, most likely has some regrets about her strategy on cannabis and the place she might have executed higher work with the cannabis group. In Montana, legalization received fewer votes than Trump by about 2,000, however received extra votes than Senator Daines – who was elected – by about 7,000. You have these dynamics the place both they should study to speak about it higher or attempt to get out in entrance of this – in the event that they’re good – and become involved with reform.
But should you have a look at age, it’s starker. If you’re older, no matter get together, you’re extra more likely to oppose. It’s actually an age divide. There are loads of younger Republicans which might be about state’s rights and never anti-cannabis.
My largest concern is the impression of federal legalization on states. And that is perhaps on account of my considering on how states are higher outfitted to deal with the complexities. What are some drawbacks to federal legalization and what do you suppose a few of the finest issues are for us?
We actually have to be considerate. Think about what occurred with hemp. All of a sudden, it’s authorized underneath the Farm Bill, however then persons are getting arrested for driving vans of hemp by Idaho. The debate is essentially round CBD, delta-8, delta-10, and delta-14. Delta-8 will get you excessive, however not fairly as excessive as THC, and it’s being bought over-the-counter and on-line in Texas and different states with huge blowback. What position ought to the FDA have?
Potency is one other particular situation that wants thought. I’m of the opinion we should always tax it – just like alcohol – at the next charge and put that cash again into psychological well being therapy and prevention, versus banning merchandise over a sure efficiency. When I lived in California, I might stroll into 7/11 and get whiskey off the shelf behind the counter, however you may’t get Everclear wherever. Whereas in Colorado, you will get any of those merchandise, however liquor is bought at liquor shops. The states have the flexibility to say, “we want to have products of this potency” or “we want to address our health issues in a way that we think is smart.”
You talked about this in your article, but when they don’t hold the tax construction in place for the states or begin to whack at that by a excessive excise tax, that considerations me, particularly should you don’t give states flexibility on what sort of merchandise they enable. It’s humorous how many individuals within the business are going to go from being Democrats to Republicans, briefly order, once they begin to see a few of this taking place on the federal degree.
Do you suppose Republicans have pinned themselves in a nook? We saved seeing in these COVID payments that Democrats have been prioritizing cannabis over jobs.
“It says ‘marijuana’ 4o more times than it says jobs,’” was political speaking level, however we now have to make it possible for doesn’t repeat itself. The largest divide, in my view, is that sure advocates imagine it must be complete reform or nothing and have been in opposition to giving something to the business on banking. The thought was maintaining prison justice reform and cannabis legalization collectively motivates business to remain in line. I imagine a few of these advocates have gotten extra real looking as a result of smaller corporations and startup fairness companies – represented by organizations such because the Minority Cannabis Business Associations – additionally want banking. Holding up one thing huge like banking will not be hurting the larger, extra established gamers, it’s actually hurting the small startup corporations – like these in fairness applications – to not have entry to banking or loans.
When it involves federal priorities, you talked about banking as probably the most commonsense one that might get probably the most bipartisan help. But what about interstate switch?
In a latest dialog with one of many Senators engaged on the new complete laws, disruption of the prevailing business got here up, and interstate commerce is a large a part of that. For occasion, New Jersey goes to have all these fairness candidates that are small cultivators. Think about how interstate commerce would impression state applications if there was a mandate the place giant producers in Oregon or California can instantly ship cannabis to different states. It will make the market very tough for these startups.
Senator Wyden is from Oregon, the place they’ve had an enormous overcultivation drawback by way of serving the Oregon market. Eventually, once they can ship it domestically and internationally, they’re in an incredible place. The infused product corporations need it to occur as a result of their merchandise are shelf-stable, versus cannabis flower that will get outdated and rancid.
Congress has the facility to control commerce between states and might implement a legislation that limits interstate commerce for a time period, however they will’t stop interstate commerce eternally. That results in client points and trafficking, like we’ve seen with cigarettes.
It looks like business – both cannabis business or different huge gamers that wish to get into it – are actually driving the dialog, relatively than the federal government itself. Is there any room for a government-led, government-run workgroup to examine this? There is research that implies the workgroups in Colorado have been very efficient.
I give former Colorado Governor, now Senator, Hickenlooper loads of credit score for the duty pressure mannequin and stakeholder process that labored so properly. I believe it might work rather well on a nationwide degree should you deliver the correct individuals. You might deliver the opposite aspect to the desk, too, and hash a few of these issues out. We must have good individuals on the desk and a pathway for opponents to be heard with out being overweighed by way of their affect. For instance, what the responsibility.org of us are doing with alcohol and drunk driving. That form of program might actually assist. And clearly social fairness is such an enormous piece that you can see this process pressure changing into 1,000 individuals.
We’ve received to be respectful of different states, however I nonetheless suppose, by far, Colorado thinks about these things a lot otherwise and rather more forward-thinking than the remainder of the nation. But possibly that’s my Colorado bias.
I’ve the identical bias, so that you’re OK.
To study extra about Christian and his work with USCC, go to uscannabiscouncil.org.