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Here's what lawmakers are saying about new cannabis legislation

Federal lawmakers have a lot on their plate when it comes to cannabis โ€” from financial rules to cannabis' rising potency. In the near term, the industry isn't expecting much.

But that doesn't mean legislators have forgotten about cannabis, with discussions on a number of initiatives and topics percolating in the halls of Congress. As progress drags on, there's a lot on the line for a fast-growing industry that's still outlawed on the federal level and is barred from most banking services.

The rising potency of cannabis products is one area that has gained increased attention in recent weeks. The level of THC, which is cannabis' key psychoactive ingredient, jumped to 15% in 2021, up from 4% in 1995, according to a 2022 National Institute on Drug Abuse report. This, along with new studies on cannabis' adverse health effects, is raising concerns. 

Federal lawmakers are mulling how โ€” and when โ€” to address the potency issue, which has alarmed state regulators. Anti-cannabis activists such as Kevin Sabet, head of the Smart Approaches to Marijuana, are stirring up the debate. His group opposes the SAFE Banking Act, a key industry-backed legislation that would give companies greater access to the financial system. Sabet is also calling for rules to limit THC content. 

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