March 11, 2021



Leaders from Highly Regulated Industries, Public Health, Public Safety, Social Equity, Youth Use Prevention, and Other Experts Join to Advance Cannabis Policy


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation launched to advance comprehensive policy solutions to guide cannabis legalization and regulation at the federal level. Representing global, highly regulated businesses and experts on issues like patient access, public safety, criminal justice reform, youth use prevention, and access to capital, the Coalition is the first of its kind to bring such diverse stakeholders together. Launching within the new administration’s first 100 days, the Coalition aims to advance a dialogue that can shape a responsible regulatory framework that will inform federal cannabis legalization.

“Today, more than 100 million Americans have access to regulated adult-use cannabis, but that state-by-state patchwork approach exists absent a federal framework that is guided by science, data, and consistent standards that exist for all other adult-use products,” said Andrew Freedman, executive director of the Coalition. “The federal government has a unique role in cannabis policy, and the highly regulated industries and stakeholders in this coalition bring expertise from across the public health, public safety, social equity, and youth use prevention communities that are prepared to work with others to help shape a responsible framework for federal legalization of cannabis.”

The Coalition is working to galvanize support for a comprehensive framework that transcends ideology by bringing together issue experts to generate thoughtful discussion and analysis on various questions surrounding lawmakers as they consider federal cannabis legalization and regulation. Members of the Coalition are experts on diverse issues including regulatory and enforcement structures, state and legacy systems, financing and minority capital access, tax policy, criminal justice reform, social equity, impaired driving, and environmental sustainability.

“By combining perspectives from highly regulated businesses, subject matter experts, and advocates including in the social justice space, we’re laying the foundation for a meaningful and thoughtful dialogue on federal cannabis policy,” said Shanita Penny, advisor to the Coalition and a former president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association. “Led by science, research, and a deep understanding of history, this coalition will be laser-focused on addressing longstanding issues, including minority access to capital and criminal justice reform, to get a federal cannabis regulatory framework done right.”

“We believe that the conversation is no longer about simply whether or not to legalize cannabis – the states and their constituents have already answered that question. The question before us now is how to craft a responsible, federal framework for a legalized cannabis marketplace, and to do that right, we need all voices at the table,” said Freedman. “Coalition members will explore and develop informed and data-driven solutions about what a legalization framework could look like to best achieve advocates’ aspirations while considering the needs of public health, protecting public safety, and keeping cannabis out of the hands of children.”

The Coalition’s Center of Excellence is comprised of subject matter experts and does not serve as endorsements from any organization. Those experts include: Brandy Axdahl of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, Derek Smith of the Resource Innovation Institute, Caroline Kitchens of the R Street Institute, John Hudak of the Brookings Institution, Karmen Hanson of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Shanita Penny of Budding Solutions, and Dr. Staci Gruber of McLean Hospital. The Coalition’s business and association members include Altria Client Services, the Brink’s Company, Constellation Brands, Inc., the Convenience Distribution Association, the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, Molson Coors Beverage Company, and the National Association of Convenience Stores.

“We have the opportunity to create foundational, groundbreaking societal change,” said Freedman. “We can bring forth a new, legal cannabis market that bolsters communities, protects consumers and youth, and addresses public health and safety issues that are critical to all communities.”

To learn more about the Coalition’s work and membership, visit