Mayor Hancock and other mayors push for federal cannabis policy reform

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock joined mayors of several other cities in calling for policy changes to make it easier for cities to regulate legal marijuana.

Allan Tellis. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Mayor Michael Hancock addresses the crowd. Juneteenth in Five Points, June 17, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Mayor Michael Hancock addresses the crowd at last year's Juneteenth in Five Points. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock joined mayors of several other cities in calling for policy changes to make it easier for cities to regulate legal marijuana, as states and cities across the nation continue to change their opinion on how marijuana should be treated.

It was one of the products of the 86th Annual Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors in Boston, which Hancock attended over the weekend.

Hancock was joined in sponsoring a resolution to that effect by Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle and the mayors of San Francisco, Sacramento, Las Vegas and Portland. 

The mayors put together a list of recommendations that will eventually make its way to federal policymakers and would, if accepted, provide some added protection for their cities’ emerging industries. In the resolution, they ask for the federal government to add legislation making sure states rights are protected and acknowledging that the federal government will not use its powers to interfere in the industry’s affairs. They also suggest removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances list which would allow banks, other federally backed institutions, and investors to work with the industry.

This conversation comes on the heels of President Donald Trump saying he would “probably” back bipartisan legislation put together by Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts that would make legalization of marijuana a state-level decision. Gardner was promised by Trump earlier this year that the federal government would not use its authority to interfere with the marijuana industry’s activities in Colorado. The marijuana industry has simultaneously kept an eye on a tumultuous relationship between the president and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has not made it clear how he will approach the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

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