The National League of Cities is beginning to put pressure on the federal government for marijuana legislation
The National League of Cities (NLC) is a group founded in 1924 that works to empower local governments. It represents more than 19,000 jurisdictions scattered across the U.S. and has been vital in lobbying for a number of causes at the federal level. Now, it’s using its support and experience to push a new agenda – that of legalized marijuana at the national level.
The organization passed two marijuana-related resolutions this past weekend, one on access to financial services by marijuana businesses and the other on the removal of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug. The NLC hopes to convince Congress to “pass legislation that would ensure states and local governments have the ability to establish laws and regulations on the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of medical and adult-use cannabis within the state.”
Part of the resolution for rescheduling reads, “Cannabis’ status as a Schedule I illicit substance on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the CSA’s coupling with the Bank Secrecy Act have created a condition under which the cannabis industry has severely limited access to the federally-regulated banking industry, and this condition has led to a reliance on ‘cash only’ models that involve the transportation of large sums of paper money through cities, increase the risks of theft crimes and tax evasion, and deny large groups of business owners the capital needed to enter the market.”
The resolution will also lead the NLC to lobby for the creation of “federal regulations for the manufacturing, distribution and sale of legal medical and adult-use cannabis” by the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
According to NLC Director of Communications Tom Martin, “This is the first time we’ve explicitly called for the federal rescheduling of marijuana. For the past five years or so, we’ve been asking the federal government to resolve the conflict between state and federal laws in regards to the banking issue.”
The NLC has now joined the ranks of a growing list of national coalitions fighting for marijuana change at the federal level. The National Association of Counties, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Conference of State Legislatures have all passed resolutions this year that endorse federal cannabis law reforms.