By DeVaughn Douglas
As Ed mentioned earlier the landscape for the financial industry is starting to show changes when it comes to marijuana. A major player like Rodney E. Hood speaking to the PBC doesn’t show that the industry is just moving in the direction of legalization but in large part it is already there. New York is finally initiating a marijuana control board which is in charge of setting rules for growing, processing, and selling cannabis. The critical part about the organization is that they are also tasked with ensuring that social equity provisions are written into law. Organizations have made promises about focusing on social equity in the past but oftentimes those are some of the first things that fall by the wayside. It is important that people keep an eye out on these organizations to make sure they fulfill their promises.
Other indicators of the market moving towards legalization is Senator Mike Regan putting out a memo indicating that he will be filing a bill to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania. Regan is a former U.S marshal who is quoted as saying “law enforcement does not have the time or manpower to handle minor marijuana offenses and should instead be investigating violent criminals and large-scale drug importers of heroin and fentanyl.” Many of these legalization programs have avenues to help communities that have been detrimentally affected by the criminalization of cannabis. While Regan proposes that the revenue from sales in the state could go to pay for afterschool programs in disadvantaged neighborhoods, he also intends to use funds to help further fund police. At this point legalization is mostly talk and there have been no other steps by the legislative body in Pennsylvania towards legalization, but with two-thirds of the states voting population in favor of marijuana it is not a stretch to say that a change in the law is coming. The news comes on the heels of reports that recreational Marijuana is coming to Ohio, expanding the states current medical usage program.
Finally, ESPN reports that the NBA will not randomly test players for marijuana this season. This is the second season that the league will do away with the random testing for cannabis. While testing will still be happening for other substances and marijuana is still one of the prohibited substances in players contracts the leagues relaxation on testing for the drug shows the direction in which the NBA is moving. Hopefully other sports organizations will follow suit.
As the legal, political, and financial world all make adjustments to prepare for marijuana it is important that people watch how our elected officials vote and keep an eye on the laws that are going to regulate legalization. This includes those all the way at the top. Currently a minority of republicans and a large number of democrats are in favor of full legalization with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushing to remove the drug from the controlled substances act. President Biden in response has suggested marijuana be listed as a schedule II substances alongside cocaine and methamphetamines. While this would allow for medical research it falls way short of what the American public wants for cannabis. The ultimate hope is that his party will continue to push him in the direction of full legalization.