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The Prepare Act: Feds Propose A Plan For Federal Legalization

April 26, 2023

3:00 am

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The Preparing Regulators Effectively for a Post-Prohibition Adult Use Regulated Environment (PREPARE Act) is bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries that seeks to better prepare the federal government for the eventual end of cannabis prohibition. This act creates a process for the federal government to establish effective regulations that can be implemented following the termination of its decades-long prohibition of cannabis.

The PREPARE Act outlines an appointment process, meeting requirements, administrative procedures, and rules regarding compensation. It establishes a Commission tasked with providing advice and recommendations on properly regulating cannabis at the federal level when it becomes legal. The Commission will be made up of nine members the President, Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, House Speaker, and Minority Leader, and Attorney General appoint.

“With nearly every state adopting its own set of cannabis reforms, an end to federal cannabis prohibition is inevitable,” said Congressman Joyce. “Now is the time for the federal government to respect the will of our constituents and begin the conversation on fair and effective cannabis regulation. The PREPARE Act will give lawmakers a bipartisan platform to legislate a fair and responsible end to prohibition and a safer future for our communities.”

“Americans across the political spectrum recognize that now is the time for cannabis reform, and the federal government should be ready to embrace and lead this change. Since the failed war on drugs began over 50 years ago, the prohibition of marijuana has ruined lives, families, and communities – particularly communities of color,” said House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. “The PREPARE Act is one of the bipartisan solutions that will lay the groundwork to finally right these wrongs in a way that advances public safety and boosts our economy. I am grateful to Congressman Joyce for reintroducing this important bill and his leadership to help the federal government be ready for the inevitable end to cannabis prohibition.”

The PREPARE Act would direct the Attorney General of the United States to establish the ‘Commission on the Federal Regulation of Cannabis to advise on developing a regulatory framework modeled after Federal and State regulatory frameworks with respect to alcohol. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Direct federal regulators to develop a regulatory and revenue framework to ensure safe production and consumption of cannabis, which would account for the unique needs, rights, and laws of each state, and present such a framework to Congress within one year;

  • Build upon the Obama and Trump Administration’s efforts to remedy the unjust consequences of the war on cannabis, particularly those suffered by minority, low-income, and veteran communities;

  • Help grant medical professionals critical research access and training,

  • Develop protections for the hemp industry, including cross-pollination prevention efforts.

  • Help ensure that absent the physician-prescribed treatment of a minor, cannabis remains an adult-only product.

Appointment Process And Meeting Requirements

The PREPARE Act outlines an appointment process for the Commission’s nine members. The President, Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, House Speaker, Minority Leader, and Attorney General will appoint these members. To ensure fair representation among all groups affected by the end of cannabis prohibition, at least one representative from each group must be present on the Commission.

The PREPARE Act also sets forth requirements for Commission meetings. Meetings must be held publicly with a quorum of majority members present to vote on final actions. Attendance is expected from all members at all meetings; should a member miss more than two consecutive meetings without providing written notice to the Chairperson beforehand, further action may be taken. Minutes shall be taken at each meeting and made available to the public.

Administrative Requirements And Prohibited Compensation

The Attorney General is responsible for providing staff and administrative support to the Commission. Furthermore, no additional compensation or benefits will be given to full-time officers or employees of the United States because of their service on the Commission. This ensures that all members are working together fairly and without bias.

Expected Benefits Of The Act

The PREPARE Act seeks to create a fair, honest, and publicly transparent process for federal government regulations surrounding cannabis after its prohibition ends. This legislation hopes to provide an avenue for regulatory guidance related to taxation, banking services, product safety standards, marketing restrictions, licensing requirements, and other considerations. The PREPARE Act is hoped to help ensure that legal cannabis businesses can operate safely and equitably, providing economic opportunities for all stakeholders involved.


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