There’s a new coalition looking to bring cannabis freedom back to the United States.
The Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) announced its launch yesterday, with a focus on ending the prohibition, criminalization, and overregulation of cannabis.
Among the members of the CFA are Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce (GACC), the Reason Foundation, and The Weldon Project/Project Green.
Weldon Project founder Weldon Anglos and GACC Executive Director Randal John Meyer are co-coordinators for the CFA.
“Ending cannabis prohibition and incarceration is a moral imperative,” says Anglos. “For too long, cruel laws punishing non-violent cannabis offenses have destroyed the lives of individuals throughout this country–myself included.”
In November 2004, then-24-year-old Anglos received a mandatory minimum sentence of 55 to 63 years after selling cannabis to a police informant on multiple occasions.
Federal judge Paul Cassell sentenced Anglos to one day in prison for the cannabis charges, but additional charges added decades to the sentence due to mandatory minimums.
Additional charges included alleged gang involvement, non-acceptance of a plea bargain, and possession of a firearm during illegal cannabis sales.
Cassell called the sentence cruel, unjust, and even irrational, stating that the case was an example of the system malfunctioning.
In 2016, Anglos was released from prison due to pressure from the judge that sentenced him, the prosecutor in the trial, celebrities, and U.S. Senators.
In December 2020, Donald Trump granted Anglos a full pardon..
“It is high time that Congress and the President right this wrong and allow those harmed by cannabis prohibition the chance to participate in the cannabis industry like the millionaires and billionaires doing so now,” says Weldon. “But we can’t do this alone. We need both sides to come together on this, which is why we launched this coalition.”
Cannabis Reform for the Future
The CFA aims to accomplish four primary goals through federal legislative reform.
The first goal seeks to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act to end prohibition and “allow innovation, industry, and research to thrive.”
The second goal focuses on ensuring that formerly incarcerated people and gray market operators have a second chance in society and an equal opportunity to enter the cannabis market.
The third goal is to promote free and open markets by establishing a non-restrictive federal and state regulatory framework for cannabis that promotes public safety and ensures low barriers to entry.
CFA says that market rules cannot allow crony interests to establish control or inhibit small companies and entrepreneurs through overzealous overregulation.
The fourth goal seeks to ensure that the combined federal, state, and local taxes do not hinder entrepreneurs from entering the market and incentivizing the continuation of illicit markets.
“For too long, the criminalization of cannabis has hurt Americans, from individuals’ unnecessary involvement with the justice system to the damage dealt to communities by the expensive and failed ‘War on Drugs,” says AFP Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner. “Americans for Prosperity is excited to work alongside our partners to bring cannabis businesses into the light, replacing black and gray markets with a free and fair legal framework that improves public safety and emplasizes entrepreneurship and equal opportunity.”
“In this context,” says Gardner. “Cannabis commerce will become a way for Americans to lift themselves up, rather than a barrier holding them back.”