Cannabis Legalization: What’s Next?

January 8, 2022 | 2:30 pm | A4 | Business / Legal

Now that New York and New Jersey have both legalized cannabis, the debate over federal legalization continues to heat up in Washington. The MORE act, which will remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and enact various criminal and social justice reforms related to cannabis, was passed by Congress in November and the US House of Representatives recently adopted a cannabis banking amendment that sent stocks soaring. Each state’s approach to legalization varies, but they are all impacted by the decisions made by those in Washington. A federally regulated cannabis marketplace is the goal – but that does not equate an inclusive and equitable industry. Additionally, the opportunity for local business owners to invest in this nascent industry and employ thousands of workers hangs in the balance of state representatives. Bridget Hennessey, Vice President of Government Relations at Weedmaps, is uniquely positioned to comment on this emerging industry’s trajectory and impact on the American legal system at this seismic moment.

Bridget Hennessey

Bridget Hennessey, Vice President of Government Relations, Weedmaps

Bridget leads Weedmaps’ policy work, partnering with medical cannabis and veterans’ groups, legislators, and community groups to ensure safe, legal access to cannabis. Bridget’s passion for advocacy stems from a long history in the non-profit sector – working directly with incarcerated individuals and seeing how minority communities were disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. After 15 years working in government relations and public policy, Bridget joined the cannabis industry with the goal of affecting and guiding equitable and inclusive legislation for decriminalized cannabis, ensuring diverse voices have a seat at the table. Prior to joining WMH, Bridget spent a majority of her career working in the transportation industry, working to increase investment in transportation.