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New cannabis coalition wants to influence how — not if — weed is legalized

The group includes representatives from the alcohol, tobacco and insurance industries.

A new cannabis coalition made up of a wide variety of national corporations, including tobacco and alcohol firms, launched today with the purpose of influencing policy and potentially shaping the first federal cannabis regulations.

The group is operating under the premise that federal legalization is inevitable and is enlisting a group of cannabis policy experts to help guide their efforts.

The Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation plans to focus on federal and state policy discussions. Those policy areas include public safety concerns, youth prevention, minority access to the industry, and national standards on product testing and pesticides. The group plans to compile data and research, and to release white papers on these policy issues that can be used to inform lawmakers.

“There are dozens of unanswered questions at this point,” said Andrew Freedman, executive director of the coalition and Colorado’s former cannabis czar. ”Any one of which is enough to make anybody pause before they go forward with legalization. So we need to answer, definitively, all of these outstanding questions.”

There are now 16 states that have enacted full marijuana legalization, while another 26 just have legal medical markets. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has embraced marijuana legalization, calling it a priority for this Congress. [Read More @ Politico]

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