Federal marijuana changes could make state laws mostly irrelevant, American Bar Association says

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marijuana joint(DC Bureau)
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 9:43 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Legal marijuana could be coming to five additional states after the midterm elections.

NORML, which advocates for legalization and follows the issue around the country, said measures that make it onto the ballot usually pass.

“State level ballot initiatives have largely been very successful when it comes to ending prohibition at the state level,” NORML Political Director Morgan Fox.

Federal changes could be coming as well. The Biden administration is considering removing marijuana from schedule one drug status, which is reserved for the most dangerous drugs.

Attorney Lisa Pittman says that would overhaul how marijuana works in the country because companies could operate across state lines.

“Why wouldn’t you just grow in the Carolinas or wherever it’s cheaper for you, and extract somewhere else and retail somewhere else,” American Bar Association member Lisa Pittman said.

Pittman, who formerly chaired the American Bar Association’s Cannabis Law and Policy Committee, said that could make marijuana operate much like the beer industry, where a few large companies taking charge.

“We’re going to have the pharmaceutical companies step in, and then the medical marijuana movement as we know it today with all these state siloed markets is just going to go away,” Pittman said.

Pittman said it is a tall order for the administration to change policy so quickly.

“I would be shocked if in a mere year, or a year and a half during the remainder of this administration, they are going to come up with a new scheduling.”

Biden will pardon those with federal marijuana possession charges, but the ABA said that only applies to about 6500 people nationwide.