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WSWA calls for cannabis legalisation

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) is calling on the US Congress to legalise the federal use of cannabis for adults and apply alcohol-like regulations.

The WSWA believes the rules that govern alcohol should be used for cannabis regulation

In March 2021, the trade association proposed regulations for the legal sale of cannabis in the US based on the alcohol supply chain model. The WSWA represents the distribution tier of the wine and spirits industry.

The WSWA said it was the first alcohol trade body to advocate for federal legalisation.

“The time has come for Congress to legalise and regulate adult-use cannabis at the federal level,” said WSWA CEO and president Francis Creighton.

“The success of our alcohol regulatory system offers a proven model for cannabis regulation, one that will promote public health and safety as well as a fair and competitive marketplace.”

In a letter to members of Congress, the WSWA presented a ‘comprehensive and robust’ federal regulatory framework and warned tackling the issue in a ‘piecemeal manner’ would lead to de facto federal legalisation that would fail to address product safety, trade practices, or interstate sales and enforcement.

The WSWA’s recommended framework is built on four rules that govern the alcohol industry: the federal permitting of cannabis producers, importers, testing facilities and distributors; federal approval and regulation of cannabis products and product labels; efficient and effective collection of federal excise tax; and effective measures to ensure public safety.

“States have successfully regulated the alcohol market for their citizens for nearly 90 years — they should retain the authority to regulate cannabis in the manner that best suits their local needs, including being able to choose not to legalise the product in their state,” Creighton added.

“Federal regulation of cannabis should focus on issues of public health and safety and interstate commerce, such as standard potency measurements, labelling and marketing guidelines, the licensing of producers, testing facilities and distributors, collecting excise taxes, and properly funding impaired driving prevention and enforcement.”

Without these provisions, consumers and businesses would be exposed to the “widening negative impacts of legalisation already being seen in the marketplace without adequate federal oversight”, Creighton warned.

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