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Hickenlooper Reintroduces Bill to Prepare Federal Government for Cannabis Legalization

Aug 1, 2023

PREPARE Act would develop framework for federal legalization based on Colorado’s Task Force

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper recently reintroduced the Preparing Regulators Effectively for a Post-Prohibition Adult Use Regulated Environment (PREPARE) Act, a bill that directs the Attorney General to develop a framework for federal cannabis regulation.

Though cannabis is currently illegal at the federal level, many states have followed Colorado’s safe and legal model. The PREPARE Act establishes a federal commission, modeled after Colorado’s regulatory commission, to advise the government on proper safeguards for federal cannabis legalization.

“Colorado’s is the model for a safe, well-regulated marijuana market,” said Hickenlooper. “Let’s build on that success with federal regulation.”

On December 10, 2012, a month after Colorado voted to legalize marijuana, then-Governor Hickenlooper convened the Amendment 64 Task Force to provide recommendations for the development of regulations. Those regulations led to the thriving, safe, marijuana industry in Colorado today. The PREPARE Act would replicate the Amendment 64 Task Force at the federal level.

Specifically, the PREPARE Act-established federal commission would:

  • Advise on the development of a federal regulatory framework modeled after state cannabis regulations. 

  • Consider barriers and suggestions for regulating cannabis similar to alcohol. 

  • Identify ways to remedy the disproportionate impact cannabis prohibition has had on minority, low-income, and veteran communities.

  • Include representatives from relevant federal agencies and offices, individuals nominated by Senate and House leadership, industry representatives, and representatives of state and local governments.

Importantly, the commission would not have rulemaking authority; its sole role would be to develop proposals and make policy recommendations.

Hickenlooper’s bill has broad support from stakeholders, including the National Hispanic Cannabis Council, Partnership to End Addiction, Veterans Cannabis Coalition, NORML, US Cannabis Council, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, National Cannabis Industry Association, Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation, Colorado Association of Ski Towns, Colorado Municipal League, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.

A one-page explainer is available HERE.

Full bill text is available HERE.


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