Despite all that’s going in Washington, D.C., these days, an attorney told a Santa Barbara crowd Jan. 8 that there is a growing acceptance in Congress for legalizing marijuana at a national level.
Melissa Kuipers Blake, shareholder and co-chair of the Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Industry Group for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, spoke at the Quarterly Cannabis Workshop and Networking Event, which drew about110 people to Carr Winery.
She said even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be more concerned with Kentucky bourbon and hemp produced in his state, he and other lawmakers are starting to care about cannabis legalization soon.
Most significantly, one issue Democrats and Republicans can agree upon is proposed legislation that would allow legal cannabis industry members to use the federal banking system, Kulpers Blake said.
At the moment, marijuana is highly illegal on a nation level even though it’s legal at some level in 34 states. So, federally insured banks usually won’t take cannabis cash.
Lawmakers increasingly see the growing consumer demand for cannabis, Kulpers Blake said. Recreational marijuana use was legalized in California in 2016 and most recently in Illinois.
Kuipers Blake is based in Denver and co-chairs her law firm’s cannabis industry group with Amy Steinfeld, managing partner at the Santa Barbara office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
The firm specializes in land and water use legal issues, which are key in the cannabis industry.
“Cannabis needs to be legal in the United States,” Kuipers Blake told the crowd of industry members. “Acceptance at a national level will happen.”
Another speaker at the event, Shuli Shuman, is owner and founder of True Science Laboratories. She said current California cannabis testing regulations are not well written and stressed the need to make the industry safer through testing.
Activist and educator Felicia Carbajal of California Cannabis Advocates also addressed the crowd.
Posted Jan. 9, 2020.