Seiveright welcomes US approval of bill to decriminalize marijuana

Friday, November 22, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Cannabis Law Reform Advocate, Delano Seiveright, says that despite “very rocky road ahead” the United States (US) at the federal level is getting closer and closer to real change in the cannabis industry.

Seiveright's statement follows the recent approval by the United States of America Congressional Judiciary Committee of a landmark bill that will decriminalize and tax marijuana on the federal level.

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, November 20, voted to approve the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE), which would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, where it's now banned alongside powerful drugs like heroin and LSD.

Seiveright, who is also Director of the Cannabis Licensing Authority, in a press release from Canex, said this will open up opportunities for countries like Jamaica to better position our nascent medical, therapeutic and scientific cannabis industry.

He noted that the bill would require federal courts to expunge convictions for marijuana offenses and authorise a five per cent tax on marijuana sales to encourage minority communities to enter the cannabis business.

“It's believed to be the first time a congressional committee has backed legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. Eleven states and Washington, DC, have already done so with a grand total of 33 US states allowing for some form of legal cannabis use,” the release added.

“Let us not forget that just two months ago, we saw the successful passage of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) banking Act in the US House of Representatives, which seeks to amend US federal law so that banks and other financial institutions can work directly with state-legal cannabis businesses,” Seiveright expressed.

It was further noted that on September 25, United States Congressmen and women voted a whopping 321 to 103 in favour of HR 1595: the SAFE Banking Act with nearly unanimous support from Democrats, as well as about half of all Republicans.

"The issues of cannabis classification at the US federal level and the lack of access to banking for legal cannabis businesses represents a juggernaut for many in the legal industry globally and particularly in Jamaica where our legal cannabis industry is literally being stifled. This is limiting growth of the sector, down pressing job creation and restricting agricultural development and consequently inhibiting the development of rural communities and the Jamaican economy in general," Seiveright added.


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