A New Cannabis Coalition Seeking to Influence Federal Policy

A new cannabis coalition seeking to influence federal policy was recently launched and is called the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation (CPEAR). 

The CPEAR Coalition has not only enlisted cannabis policy experts, academics, mental health experts, and law enforcement, it also includes tobacco and alcohol companies as well as several convenience store partners, explained its executive director Andrew Freedman, whom many may remember as Colorado’s cannabis czar in 2014 when then-Gov. John Hickenlooper was implementing the world’s first legal adult-use cannabis market.


While CPEAR is made up of a combination of industry leaders primarily from outside the traditional cannabis space, it includes some that already have a financial stake in the industry. 


Some of the better-known members include the producer of Marlboro cigarettes, Altria Client Services, which is a major investor in Canada’s Cronos Group; Constellation Brands alcohol company, which is steeply invested in Canada’s Canopy Growth and Molson Coors Beverage Company, which entered the cannabis space in 2020.



Freedman explained that in addition to corporations, CPEAR also has brought on a group of advisors as part of its “Center of Excellence.” Several of them include Shanita Penny, former president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, and John Hudak of the Brookings Institution.  



Freedman said CPEAR will look at policy issues in preparation for the country’s inevitable legalization, or at least decriminalization, of cannabis. These issues include public safety concerns, youth prevention, minority access to the industry, and national standards on product testing and pesticides, according to CPEAR’s press release


“We realize there are a lot of unanswered questions at this point and our goal is to try and clarify as many of them as possible,” Freedman said.