November 30, 2022

Volume XII, Number 334

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November 29, 2022

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November 28, 2022

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Change (May) Come at Last? Biden Announces Review of Marijuana Scheduling and Mass Pardons for Simple Marijuana Possession

Yesterday, President Joe Biden made two historic announcements which he described as steps to “end” the federal government’s “failed approach” to marijuana. First, he is issuing mass pardons for federal convictions of simple marijuana possession and has encouraged governors to do the same for state-level marijuana offenses. Second, President Biden ordered Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra “to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.”

Time will tell how expeditiously this administrative review of marijuana scheduling takes place. But, if marijuana is de-scheduled, the impact to the cannabis industry cannot be understated.

  • It would pave the way for more financial institutions to serve the cannabis industry by removing much of the anti-money laundering regulatory risk that comes with banking cannabis clients today.

  • It would remove the primary barrier to selling cannabis across state lines, which could lead to cannabis supply chains that spread across states, rather than just within them.

  • And while the federal government has not shown interest in prosecuting state-legal cannabis operators to date, those operators will surely welcome the removal of the sword of Damocles (federal prosecution) that currently hangs over them.

  • Other, unstated implications of de-scheduling abound.

We have more editorializing to do on this announcement, but given its importance, this first post needed to come quickly. More to come next week.

© 2022 Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 279
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About this Author

J. Hunter Robinson Commercial Litigation Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
Associate

Hunter Robinson represents clients in commercial litigation and compliance-related matters across the country. His litigation practice focuses on representing financial institutions in lender-liability, title, and business disputes, including class actions. Hunter represents mortgage servicers and lenders in suits arising from repurchase demands, and defends those entities in litigation involving alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and the Fair Credit Reporting...

615-252-2328
Whitt Steineker Cannabis Attorney Bradley Birmingham
Partner

Whitt Steineker has devoted his legal career to representing companies that provide a wide range of goods and services. He provides clients of all types with litigation counsel, transactional advice, and practical strategies for growth. Whitt advises clients of all sizes—from multinational corporations to local businesses—in transactional and litigation matters in jurisdictions across the country and around the world.

As co-chair of Bradley’s Cannabis Industry team, Whitt represents clients on a wide range of cannabis issues. In addition to...

205-521-8401
James W. Wright Jr. Attorney Banking Financial Services Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Birmingham
Partner

Jay Wright is a partner in the firm’s Banking and Financial Services and Litigation practice groups. Jay has earned his Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) designation through the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and is one of a small number of lawyers who have achieved this status.

Jay’s practice focuses on financial services litigation and regulation, and he is actively involved in lawsuits and disputes across the country representing companies involved in a wide array of state and federal law claims. His representation includes general...

205-521-8924
Slates Veazey Construction Litigation Attorney Bradley Law Firm
Partner

Slates Veazey represents clients in all types of litigation, with a particular emphasis on construction and insurance coverage disputes. Slates’ construction practice involves representing owners and general contractors in a variety of issues and projects, both public and private. Slates, who is licensed in both Texas and Mississippi, has experience managing construction disputes across the United States, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas. This experience includes prosecuting and defending delay, extra work, impact, and inefficiency claims on public and private...

601.592.9925
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