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California Cannabis Businesses Praise The Action Taken In Washington On Decriminalization SPONSOR: Harborside $ $ $ $

Posted by AGORACOM at 9:37 AM on Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

SPONSOR: Harborside is a California-focused, vertically integrated, fully licensed cannabis company with its business consisting of three primary segments, Retail Dispensaries, Cultivation and Processing and Wholesale Sales (including branded product sales). Harborside operates the only drive through dispensary in California

SAN DIEGO — On Friday the United States House of Representatives passed a bill decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level. Although it is unlikely to pass the Senate, it has industry leaders here in California excited that the conversation towards decriminalization is rolling in Washington.

After receiving some rare bi-partisan support, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement or MORE Act passed the House of Representatives by a large margin. Highlights of the bill include:

  • Decriminalizing marijuana federally
  • Establishing a 5% federal tax on all cannabis products
  • Prohibiting the denial of federal benefits to people convicted of cannabis-related crimes
  • The bill would start the process of expunging the records of those convicted of Cannabis-related offensives

Will Senn is the founder of Urbn Leaf, a marijuana dispensary in San Diego. He says that the bill has been a long time coming and that it was a historic win for the industry. He went on to say that attitudes towards marijuana are shifting around the country. “I think the writing is on the wall, right? Everybody is voting for cannabis legislation nationwide. You had five more states pass some legislation in the last election year. There’s a number of upcoming bills in the near future here.”

Marijuana has been decriminalized in California since 1996 but attitudes about the plant differ drastically around the country. According to the FBI and the Pew Research Center, in 2018 40% of the 1.65 million drug arrests from around the country were marijuana-related and 92% of them were for possession.

Jason Ortiz from the Minority Cannabis Business Association said, “So, I mean, there are thousands at the very minimum, especially on the federal level. But as you start to extend the impact statewide, it could be upwards of millions of records that would get affected.”

Ortiz added that the potential expungement of cannabis-related crimes off a person’s record  could change the lives of thousands of people, “And having that on your record denies you access to housing, to jobs, to other sorts of social services.

Although the bill passed in the House, it’s unlikely that it will see a vote in the Senate. Still, business owners like Senn see it as an important benchmark of just how far the conversation around decriminalizing marijuana has come since he entered the industry.


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