Developments in State Cannabis Laws and Bipartisan Cannabis Reforms at the Federal Level

Meeting Notes: 
The hearing will convene in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building and over Zoom, which has been approved by the House.
Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - 10:00am
2154 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

On Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. ET, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Rep. Nancy Mace, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, will hold a hybrid hearing to examine the many benefits of cannabis decriminalization at the federal level, including addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, improving treatment options for veterans, and allowing marijuana companies to access traditional banking services.


Marijuana arrests account for 43% of all drug arrests, and nine in ten of those marijuana arrests are for simple possession.  Although Black and white people use cannabis at roughly the same rates, Black people are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for violating marijuana possession laws, which carries life-altering implications for employment, housing, and education.  Decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level and expunging criminal convictions for possession would alleviate these burdens and allow for societal advancement.


As of May 27, 2022, 19 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia have enacted measures to regulate cannabis for adult non-medical use.  In addition, 37 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia allow the use of medical marijuana.  Decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level would allow veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain to access medical marijuana for treatment.


On October 6, 2022, President Biden announced that he will pardon individuals convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law and called for a review of how marijuana is scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act.  Building on this critical step, advocates are calling for action in Congress to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level.


The hearing will examine legislative efforts to remove cannabis from the controlled substance list, including the House passage of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act), and to balance federal regulation of this burgeoning industry with existing state-based regimes.


Randall Woodfin


City of Birmingham, Alabama


Paul Armentano

Deputy Director

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)


Andrew Freedman

Executive Director

Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR)


Eric Goepel

Founder and CEO

Veterans Cannabis Coalition


Keeda Haynes

Senior Legal Advisor

Free Hearts


Amber Littlejohn

Senior Policy Advisor

Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce


Jillian Snider

Policy Director of Criminal Justice & Civil Liberties

R Street Institute


117th Congress