The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America are calling on members of Congress to federally legalize adult-use cannabis.

WSWA President and CEO Francis Creighton wrote a letter to U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, U.S. Senate Leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell discussing the association’s support for federal cannabis legalization.

Creighton cited the conflict between state and federal law, pointing to “long-term public health and safety costs that are too great to ignore.”

“This conflict undermines the rule of law and weakens public health and safety, while leaving states unsupported in their efforts to create safe, regulated markets and eliminate dangerous black-market activity,” he wrote.

Creighton said lawmakers should look toward the alcohol industry as a model that offers harmony between state and federal regulations. He noted states could serve as primary regulators, with the federal government overseeing production and interstate commerce.

“During and immediately after Prohibition, a significant black market existed for alcohol products,” Creighton wrote. “It was cooperation between state and federal regulators that effectively ended that black market and created a legal alcohol marketplace that has evolved into the global standard for consumer safety, marketplace competition, and product diversification — all of which provide benefits to the public.”

Creighton added federal legalization should be comprehensive — instead of occurring incrementally — to protect the public health and safety of consumers and non-consumers. He also noted the federal government is missing out on tax revenue.

Creighton said the WSWA has created policy principles for federal cannabis legalization, which center around four pillars:

  1. The federal permitting of cannabis producers, importers, testing facilities, and distributors.
  2. Federal approval and regulation of cannabis products.
  3. Efficient federal tax collection.
  4. Effective federal guidelines and other measures to protect public health and safety.

“Ultimately, we believe that the societal cost of inaction is too great and that the time has come for Congress to act,” Creighton concluded. “The legalization of cannabis will be a big task with many layers worthy of serious discussion and benefits from ever-growing nationwide public support. We look forward to sharing our experience of nearly 90 years of successful federal and state regulation in the alcohol market and working with Congress to enact legislation that legalizes and regulates cannabis effectively for both consumers and non-consumers.”