“CAOA” – A federal cannabis decriminalization bill dealing with banking, taxes, criminal law, etc. – Presented to the US Congress | Akerman LLP

A long-awaited bill to legalize cannabis at the federal level was finally introduced last week after a year of negotiations after a draft was released last year. On Thursday, July 21, 2022, U.S. Senators Cory Booker, Chuck Schumer, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (“CAOA”) to the U.S. Congress. CAOA is a complete solution, 296 pages bill designed to address several different topics regarding the federal legalization of cannabis, such as “removing cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances, protecting public health and safety, and expunging the criminal records of those who have committed low-level cannabis offences,” according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Specifically, CAOA is divided into eight different titles, which are:

  1. Cannabis decriminalization, public safety and state rights
  2. Research, training and prevention
  3. Restorative justice and opportunity
  4. Taxation and creation of a trust fund
  5. Public Health, Cannabis Administration and Trade Practices
  6. Occupational health and safety provisions
  7. Banking, housing and community development
  8. Various

The CAOA will now go to a Senate committee and begin its attempt to go through the Senate. If passed, the CAOA will affect several vital industries and the senior and middle managers within them. However, tax advisors, cannabis business owners, public health officers, bankers, financial advisors, criminal and human resources lawyers, and nonprofits focused on restorative justice should take time to learn more about the nuances of the law and its proposed regulations, as it will affect the way you conduct your business. To start, watch the summary of the Act provided by the drafters of the Act.

Finally, the CAOA is a new law that will no doubt be reviewed and amended if the Senate passes it successfully. However, Akerman’s Cannabis Practice Team closely follows developments in CAOA and other cannabis-related issues.