States Reform Act Represents Potential Shift In U.S. Approach To Cannabis

Cannabis regulation and legalization have, to date, largely been a state-based issue in the United States, despite cannabis still being illegal at the federal level. States have made their own calls on legal use and tracking, while federal efforts have mostly stalled due to the way the plant is classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). That could change, though, with the States Reform Act, which Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC-1) recently introduced in the House of Representatives.

Perhaps the most important feature of the bill is that, if passed, it would delist cannabis as a Schedule I drug under DEA rules. Right now, it exists in that category with heroin, LSD, and other dangerous narcotics that the DEA says have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Naturally, that is at odds with how many states have chosen to treat cannabis, and can cause a number of problems as a result.

By delisting cannabis as a Schedule I drug, the States Reform Act would free states to pursue their own policies regarding cannabis. If the citizens of a state would want to legalize it for medical or recreational use, they would be free to do so without the concerns that exist today with regard to running afoul of federal law. It would also make it easier for businesses to operate in states that have legalized uses for cannabis by eliminating many of the problems those businesses face in securing key financial services from banks.

Another significant aspect of the States Reform Act, however, is the way it allocates funding for law enforcement. In addition to offering funding to law enforcement to hire and equip officers, it also empowers them to proactively engage with the communities they serve.

By allocating funds through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) Program and the Community-Oriented Policing Service (COPS) Program, the States Reform Act brings law enforcement to the table to play an active role in how new local regulations are implemented and realized. It enables law enforcement to play a leading role in their communities and engage with the people and businesses who they interact with day-to-day.

As someone with years of experience not just in the industry, but in law enforcement as well, I know how important that piece of the puzzle is. The best way to ensure that policies are being effectively implemented, and legal products being effectively tracked, is to give law enforcement the tools they need to provide leadership in their communities.


I recently had the opportunity to speak with Rep. Mace’s office about the potential impact of this bill on the industry, as well as on communities and law enforcement nationwide, and she described it like this:

“When we drafted the States Reform Act (SRA), we made sure to consult law enforcement every step of the way. The SRA will help greatly reduce illicit markets for cannabis while simultaneously providing adequate regulation and to help keep communities safe. Our law enforcement communities recognize the need for common sense cannabis reforms, including those provided in this legislation,” said Rep. Mace.

The States Reform Act represents a major step in the push for federal cannabis regulation. It not only enables states to more productively pursue their own policies without bumping up against federal law, it gives law enforcement the tools to lead the way in their communities as well as properly oversee how these new regulations are implemented. It’s a policy that will be well worth monitoring as it works its way through Congress, and which could fundamentally change the way our nation interfaces with the cannabis community.

The Tycoon Herald