Key congressional panel to hold historic hearing on marijuana reform

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A key U.S. House subcommittee will hold a landmark hearing next week about federal cannabis reform, a pivotal step in potentially advancing legislation that’s intended to protect state-legal marijuana businesses.

“Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform” is believed to be the first congressional hearing in history to examine cannabis in the context of ending the federal government’s prohibition of the plant.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security is scheduled to hold the hearing July 10.

“When it comes to ending federal prohibition, the connection between business and social justice are linked at the hip,” Neal Levine, CEO of the Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF), told Marijuana Business Daily.

Levine plans to testify at the hearing about the challenges of inconsistent federal and state cannabis laws. He is one of four witnesses invited to testify, having been invited by Republican members of the committee.

CTF has been lobbying hard for the STATES Act, which would protect state-legal cannabis businesses from federal interference.

Levine noted that a number of key reform bills such as the STATES Act have been assigned to the powerful Judiciary committee. The “Marijuana Laws in America” hearing marks the beginning of the process to possibly advance those bills out of that committee to the full House, he added.

Judiciary Committee chair Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, is expected to introduce his own marijuana legislation. It’s unclear whether Nadler’s panel also will embrace the STATES Act.

Jeff Smith can be reached at