Just days after a Department of Justice task force recommended that the federal government should remain on the sidelines with respect to state marijuana laws, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCLS), an organization representing lawmakers from all over the United States, is calling for Uncle Sam to finally get serious about eliminating the cannabis plant from the confines of the Controlled Substances Act.
In a resolution launched into the scene on Monday, the group suggests that by removing marijuana from its Schedule I classification, it would make it easier for the cannabis industry to do business with financial institutions, creating a safer environment for everyone, one that prevents criminal minds from targeting these all cash operations.
“The Controlled Substances Act should be amended to remove cannabis from scheduling thus enabling financial institutions the ability to provide banking services to cannabis related businesses,” the resolution reads.
Although the stance of the NCLS is encouraging, it really does not mean much in the grand scheme of bringing cannabis reform to fruition. The latest resolution marks the third time the organization has urged the federal government to remove cannabis from the DEA’s Controlled Substance Act and allow states to proceed with legalization, however they see fit, without the threat of federal interference.
It is worth mentioning, however, that the organization remains adamant that their message not be misconstrued as an endorsement for the total demise of marijuana prohibition.
The organization “acknowledges that each of its members will have differing and sometimes conflicting views of cannabis and how to regulate it… But in allowing each state to craft its own regulations we may increase transparency, public safety, and economic development where it is wanted.”
Advocates of the marijuana reform movement say they are pleased by the NCSL’s latest position.
“State legislators and the vast majority of voters agree that marijuana policy should be left to the states,” Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement.
“Legitimate, taxpaying marijuana businesses should not have to face the difficulties of operating on a cash-only basis,” she continued. “Allowing banks to offer them financial services will be good for the industry and benefit public safety. Even more so, states should not have to worry about the federal government interfering with their marijuana policy choices.”
Although there are a number of bills currently lingering in political purgatory designed to bring about this reform, including one introduced last week by Senator Cory Booker, none of them have the kind of support it takes to be considered on Capitol Hill.