- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2020

Marijuana regulators from 19 states touted the formation of a nonpartisan group Thursday intended to serve as a collaborative forum for stakeholders in the growing number of legal cannabis markets.

The Cannabis Regulators Association, or CANNRA, was announced on the heels of five more states voting earlier this month to defy federal prohibition and legalize medical or recreational marijuana.

“The Cannabis Regulators Association will provide a much needed forum for regulators to engage with each other to identify and develop best practices, create model policies that safeguard public health and safety and promote regulatory certainty for industry participants,” said Norman Birenbaum, New York state’s marijuana czar and now CANNRA’s first president.

Most states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana to some degree in spite of its status as a federally controlled substance, including a growing number where it is taxed and sold at retail shops.

Voters in four other states — Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota — legalized recreational marijuana on Election Day, and Mississippi voters passed a medical measure this month as well.

“Our intent in forming this organization is to have CANNRA serve as a resource for policy makers, elected officials, researchers and other stakeholders to engage with regulators from across the country and receive unbiased information and recommendations regarding the impact and implementation of cannabis policies,” Mr. Birenbaum said in a statement.

Founding members of CANNRA include Mr. Birenbaum and the regulators of state marijuana programs in Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill next month that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and expunge some related criminal convictions, meanwhile.

Recent polling from Gallup found 68% of U.S. adults think the use of marijuana should be legalized. That marks the highest level of support for marijuana legalization ever seen by the pollster.

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