City leaders want to play a bigger role in nationwide cannabis reform.
Mayor of Denver, Michael Hancock, speaking at a 2016 ribbon cutting ceremony in Denver, CO. (Photo by Evan Semon via Flickr)
A group of seven mayors from cities where recreational marijuana is legal formed a pro-cannabis coalition at Monday’s U.S. Conference of Mayors in Boston. The group pledged to advocate for federal cannabis reform, drafting a resolution which it brought to a vote before all mayors at the conference.
The seven cities which banded together for nationwide legalization include Denver, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, West Sacramento and Las Vegas. According to the Associated Press, the mayors are calling for the removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, which bans marijuana federally. The mayors’ resolution also calls for tax reform to allow cannabis businesses access to deductions; banking reform to allow cannabis businesses access to financial services; and increased access to cannabis for veterans.
When brought before the full conference, the resolution was approved unanimously, which means that mayors across the country will now openly advocate and recommend pro-legalization reforms to Congress.
“Mayors are the ones implementing legal marijuana. We know what works & what doesn’t,” Denver Mayor Mike Hancock, who led the coalition, Tweeted on Monday. Hancock pointed out that as mayors of cities that have implemented recreational marijuana programs they are uniquely positioned to advocate for regulatory systems that work.
In some cases, like that of Denver, cities have passed their own regulations which go further than their state’s recreational rules. In 2016, for example, Denver voters passed initiative 300 which allowed for social consumption clubs within county limits while the state government continues to debate similar reforms.
In Oakland, California, an “Equity Permit Program” encourages those who have been incarcerated for cannabis to apply for cannabis business permits to help remedy suffering from the war on drugs.
The resolution comes just days after Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced legislation which would accomplish many of the goals the mayors are calling for.
The legislation, which received President Trump’s blessing on Friday (June 8), would amend the Controlled Substances Act to allow states to decide whether to legalize cannabis within their own borders but would leave the federal ban on cannabis in place.