Curaleaf CEO Says Legal Cannabis Is Attainable Sooner Than You Think

This story originally appeared on Benzinga

The path to federally legal cannabis in the United States is a four- or five-step process that hinges on Congressional support, and the outlook has never been better, Curaleaf Holdings Inc. Executive Chairman Boris Jordan told the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference on 4/20.

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The COMPETES Act and SAFE Banking Act are the first step, the billionaire cannabis exec said. 

“If we can get any federal piece of legislation that recognizes the existence of the cannabis industry, in my opinion that’s a home run,” he told Jim Kirsch of Alliance Global Partners in a keynote address that kicks off the two-day cannabis conference.

RELATED: U.S. House Approves MORE Act to End Federal Cannabis Prohibition (Again)

Steps to legal cannabis

The lame duck Congressional session in late 2022 is one to watch for legislative activity surrounding cannabis, Jordan told a packed room at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

After federal legislation is passed, the next step is to address taxation, followed by interstate commerce and eventually the federal descheduling of cannabis, the Curaleaf founder said.

“We’ve never been closer than we are now and we’ve never had more support than we have now.”

The recent development of the DEA allowing cannabis companies to move seeds between states — due to their low THC content — is a leap forward for the industry, Jordan said.

“The industry is going to have a leap forward in stabilizing products, the flavors of those products and the quality of the flower state-by-state because of that change.”

RELATED: Countries Around the World Make Moves to Decriminalize Cannabis

The importance of cannabis decriminalization

Most people who are in prison for cannabis convictions are there on state charges, Jordan said, emphasizing a need for federal funding to speed up the expungement process. Those incarcerated in federal prison tend to be major drug dealers, he said.

“People at the state level are the ones who have really been hurt by these laws.”

In some states that have decriminalized cannabis such as Maine, databases are not digitized, he said.

“The amount of work [needed] to actually expunge previous criminal offenses is taking way too long and it’s too costly. There, they need federal help.”

The HOPE Act, a piece of federal legislation, would help in this regard, Jordan said, adding that the amount of financial support needed by smaller states is relatively small — about $100 million.

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