Text: H.Res.943 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/14/2018)

[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Res. 943 Introduced in House (IH)]


  2d Session
H. RES. 943

Urging action to increase equity within the legal cannabis marketplace.



                             June 14, 2018

   Ms. Lee (for herself, Ms. Norton, Mr. Pocan, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. 
 McNerney, Ms. Schakowsky, Ms. Titus, Mr. Khanna, Mrs. Watson Coleman, 
   Ms. DeGette, Mr. Kihuen, Mr. Polis, Mr. Capuano, and Mr. Correa) 
submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee 
   on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on the 
    Judiciary, and Education and the Workforce, for a period to be 
subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration 
  of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee 



Urging action to increase equity within the legal cannabis marketplace.

Whereas the communities that have been most harmed by cannabis prohibition are 
        benefiting the least from the legal marijuana marketplace;
Whereas a legacy of racial and ethnic injustices, compounded by the 
        disproportionate collateral consequences of 80 years of cannabis 
        prohibition enforcement, now limits participation in the industry;
Whereas 30 States and the District of Columbia have adopted laws allowing legal 
        access to cannabis, and 9 States and the District of Columbia have 
        adopted laws legalizing cannabis for adult recreational use;
Whereas legal cannabis sales totaled $6.7 billion in 2016 and are projected to 
        reach $50 billion by 2026;
Whereas according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), enforcing 
        cannabis prohibition laws costs taxpayers about $3.6 billion a year;
Whereas the continued enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws results in over 
        600,000 arrests annually, disproportionately impacting people of color 
        who are almost 4 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis 
        possession than their White counterparts, despite equal rates of use 
        across populations;
Whereas people of color have been historically targeted by discriminatory 
        sentencing practices resulting in Black men receiving drug sentences 
        that are 13.1 percent longer than sentences imposed for White men and 
        Latinos being nearly 6.5 times more likely to receive a Federal sentence 
        for cannabis possession than non-Hispanic Whites;
Whereas, in 2013, simple cannabis possession was the fourth most common cause of 
        deportation for any offense and the most common cause of deportation for 
        drug law violations;
Whereas it is estimated that less than 1 percent of the cannabis industry is 
        owned or operated by people of color;
Whereas applicants for cannabis licenses are limited by numerous laws, 
        regulations, and exorbitant permit applications and licensing fees in 
        these States, which can total more than $700,000;
Whereas historically disproportionate arrest and conviction rates make it 
        particularly difficult for people of color to enter the legal cannabis 
        marketplace, as most States bar these individuals from participating;
Whereas Federal law severely limits access to loans and capital for cannabis 
        businesses, disproportionately impacting minority small business owners; 
Whereas some States and municipalities have taken proactive steps to mitigate 
        inequalities in the legal cannabis marketplace and ensure equal 
        participation in the industry: Now, therefore, be it


    This resolution may be cited as the ``Realizing Equitable & 
Sustainable Participation in Emerging Cannabis Trades Resolution'' or 
the ``RESPECT Resolution''.


    (a) In General.--The House of Representatives encourages States and 
localities to adopt best practices and take bold steps referred to in 
subsection (b) to address disparities in the cannabis marketplace 
participation and to address, reverse, and repair the most egregious 
effects of the war on drugs on communities of color, in particular to 
those who now hold criminal records for a substance that is now legal 
and regulated.
    (b) Best Practices and Steps.--The practices and steps referred to 
in this subsection include--
            (1) establishing licensing and application fees that are 
        reasonable to cover only the costs of program implementation 
        and necessary regulations;
            (2) creating a system where licensing is to be obtained at 
        the city or county level and should be based on regulations 
        determined by the local jurisdiction that meet the State's 
        minimum requirements, which allows the community to determine 
        the type and number of businesses, avoids arbitrary caps on 
        licenses, and results in an industry more representative of the 
        local market;
            (3) in States where license caps are completely 
        unavoidable, establishing local oversight and control of 
        cannabis licenses by allowing local cities and municipalities 
        to prioritize licenses for local citizens and residents, 
        especially individuals most impacted by the war on drugs, by 
        taking into account and prioritizing--
                    (A) long-term residency within the State or 
                    (B) individuals whose income is less than 80 
                percent of the median household income within a county;
                    (C) individuals who have been formerly 
                    (D) individuals with prior drug law violations; and
                    (E) individuals living within a jurisdiction that 
                is heavily policed; and
            (4) adopting laws and implementing regulations that will 
        allow small cultivators to thrive in the legal market;
            (5) creating more equitable licensing by--
                    (A) eliminating broad felony restrictions for 
                    (B) focusing restrictions on entering the market to 
                those, determined on a case-by-case basis for both 
                licensees and employees, with criminal convictions that 
                are relevant to the owning and operating of a business; 
                    (C) prohibiting previous cannabis convictions from 
                consideration as justification for a denial of a 
            (6) creating an automatic process, at no cost for the 
        individual, for the expungement or sealing of criminal records 
        for cannabis offenses that is inclusive of individuals 
        currently on parole or under any probationary agreement, for 
        cannabis offenses;
            (7) establishing a process for resentencing persons serving 
        sentences for cannabis convictions and redesignating of 
        penalties for persons previously convicted of cannabis-related 
        crimes for which the penalties have been reduced or removed;
            (8) eliminating suspicionless drug testing for nonsafety 
        sensitive positions;
            (9) eliminating punishment or other penalization for 
        persons currently under parole, probation, or other State 
        supervision, or released on bail awaiting trial, for conduct 
        otherwise allowed under State cannabis laws;
            (10) setting aside a percentage of the tax revenue from 
        cannabis sales to be reinvested in communities that have been 
        most affected by cannabis arrests and the drug war, which most 
        frequently have been communities of color, including programs 
        for job training, reentry services, expungement expenses, 
        public libraries, community centers, programs and opportunities 
        dedicated to youth, and health education programs;
            (11) using a percentage of tax revenue to establish a 
        special fund to provide small business investments to support 
        people of color entering into the legal marijuana industry;
            (12) establishing cannabis regulatory and oversight bodies 
        and commissions that reflect the racial, ethnic, economic, and 
        gender makeup of the surrounding community;
            (13) creating employment and subcontracting requirements 
        for cannabis licensee in order to use the ancillary business 
        activity generated by the cannabis industry to employ people of 
        color; and
            (14) including provisions designating spaces for public 
        consumption, either by the licensing of social entities or by 
        creating these spaces.

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