White House Drug Czar Rahul Gupta recently said that the Biden administration is looking at cannabis legalization policies around the country as it reviews drug policy reform proposals.

Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) said the administration is “learning” from states that have legalized cannabis. “We’re monitoring the data and trying to see where things go. But one thing is very clear, and the president has been clear about that—the policies that we’ve had around marijuana have not been working,” he said in a recent interview for Financial Times.

This appears to be a major change in direction for the administration, even though Vice President Kamala Harris promised to decriminalize the drug and expunge the records of all federal marijuana prisoners. The administration has repeatedly failed to follow through on these promises and even shied away from openly supporting legislative moves to decriminalize or legalize cannabis.

The current plan to monitor states for clues about better federal cannabis policy is significant. “For the first time in history, the federal government is embracing the specific policies of harm reduction,” said Gupta.

State Regulators Visit Cannabis Banking Conference

The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD) announced today that Financial Institutions Division Director Mark Sadowski and Superintendent Linda Trujillo attended the 2022 Cannabis Banking Symposium in Denver, Colo., hosted by the National Association of State Credit last week.

“As the cannabis industry grows, more credit unions may be interested in learning more about the potential possibilities of banking cannabis-related businesses, and it is important that we have this information so that it’s a win-win for the credit unions and the cannabis industry in New Mexico,” said Trujillo.

The symposium featured discussions about insurance, data analytics, compliance considerations and governance in regard to cannabis banking. Financial experts and analysts from across the country gave presentations concerning the current and future states of banking in the cannabis industry.

Senate Committee to Discuss Cannabis on Tribal Lands

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee met last week to examine issues surrounding the manufacture, sale and use of cannabis on tribal lands.

The session was called “Cannabis in Indian Country” and it served as a place for tribes to address cannabis concerns with federal lawmakers.

Senate staffers asked tribal leaders if their tribes planned to take part in the cannabis industry and to provide brief descriptions of their current operations. Tribes that are participating in the industry (as well as those that are not) were asked to speak about their concerns and suggest administrative and legislative solutions.

Tribal leaders were also asked for their recommendations for a Tribal-Federal-State framework that would safeguard tribal interests if the federal government were to decriminalize cannabis.

Nine U.S. senators sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland in March, urging him to keep prosecutors from interfering in tribal cannabis policies.