New cannabis group formed to unify push for comprehensive federal reform

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A number of cannabis businesses, associations and advocacy organizations have combined to form a nonprofit organization to unify their push for federal marijuana legalization.

The creation of the U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC) comes at a time when major reform has perhaps its brightest outlook ever in the wake of Democrats taking control of both chambers of Congress and the presidency.

Most recently, new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he would push for marijuana reform as a top legislative priority.

However, experts also warn that hurdles remain to getting major reform done this year when the U.S. economy faces challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past, the cannabis industry and its various associations have seemed to be going in different directions.

The USCC’s founding members represent some of the most influential policy and business organizations, including the Marijuana Policy Project, the Cannabis Trade Federation, the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce and such large marijuana operators as Acreage Holdings, Canopy Growth, Columbia Care, Cresco Labs, Curaleaf, iAnthus and PharmaCann.

But a number of organizations aren’t included in the founding members list, including:

  • Americans for Safe Access
  • Drug Policy Alliance
  • Minority Cannabis Business Association
  • National Cannabis Industry Association
  • National Cannabis Roundtable

Some members of these organizations, however, are part of the USCC.

“USCC is a unified voice advocating for the descheduling and legalization of cannabis,” said the group’s CEO, Steven Hawkins, a career leader in civil and human rights who also serves as executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.

He said that the USCC also will focus on pushing federal reforms that advance social equity.

Other founding members, according to a news release, include:

  • Akerna
  • American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp
  • Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine
  • BellRock Brands
  • Buckeye Relief
  • Cronos Group
  • Culta
  • DNA Genetics
  • Eaze
  • Flowhub
  • Good Chemistry
  • The Grove Cannabis Dispensary
  • Headcount’s Cannabis Voter Project
  • Husch Blackwell
  • Jushi Holdings
  • Keef Brands
  • Lightshade
  • LivWell Enlightened Health
  • Medicine Man
  • MedMen
  • Native Roots
  • 1906 New Highs
  • PAX Lab
  • ProKure
  • Raw Garden
  • Schwazze
  • Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
  • Urbn Leaf
  • Veterans Cannabis Project
  • Vicente Sederberg
  • Vireo Health
  • Wana Brands