“CAOA” - A Federal Decriminalization of Cannabis Bill Addressing Banking, Taxes, Criminal Law, and More - Introduced in U.S. Congress

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A long-awaited bill to federally legalize cannabis was finally introduced last week after a year of negotiation following the release of a draft last year. On Thursday, July 21, 2022, U.S. Senators Cory Booker, Chuck Schumer, and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (“CAOA”) to the U.S. Congress. CAOA is a comprehensive, 296-page bill designed to address several different topics concerning the federal legalization of cannabis such as “removing cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances, protecting public health and safety, and expunging the criminal records of those with low-level cannabis offenses” according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Specifically, CAOA is divided into eight different titles, which are:

  1. Decriminalization Of Cannabis, Public Safety, And States’ Rights
  2. Research, Training, And Prevention
  3. Restorative Justice And Opportunity
  4. Taxation And Establishment Of Trust Fund
  5. Public Health, Cannabis Administration, And Trade Practices
  6. Workplace Health And Safety Provisions
  7. Banking, Housing, And Community Development
  8. Miscellaneous

CAOA will now be passed to a Senate Committee and begin its attempt to pass through the Senate. If passed, CAOA will affect multiple vital industries and the top-level and mid-level executives within them. However, tax advisors, cannabis business owners, public health workers, bankers, financial advisors, criminal and HR lawyers, and non-profits focused on restorative justice should take the time to learn more about the nuances of the Act and its proposed regulations because it will affect the way you conduct business. To get started, look at the summary of the Act provided by the drafters of the Act.

Lastly, CAOA is a new Act that will undoubtedly be revised and amended if the Senate successfully passes it. However, Akerman’s Cannabis Practice Team closely follows CAOA’s developments and other cannabis-related matters. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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