An unconfirmed report published yesterday suggests that the EQUAL Act may be merged into the Senate’s marijuana reform package.

Marijuana Moment reported that

Equal Act

Interestingly enough, a non-marijuana item might also be part of the deal in the works: the EQUAL Act to end the federal sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, which experts say has exacerbated racial disparities in the criminal justice system. That legislation has passed the House in standalone form and has substantial bipartisan support in the Senate.

The proposal (still in preliminary talks) focuses on putting together a wide-ranging package of incremental marijuana proposals that House and Senate lawmakers believe could be enacted into law this year.  The outline includes banking and criminal justice reforms on marijuana, but also “there are also talks about attaching language from other standalone bills dealing with issues such as veterans’ medical cannabis access, research expansion, marijuana industry access to Small Business Administration (SBA) programs and broader drug sentencing reform,” Marijuana Moment reported

Small Business Administration

Last week, the Washington Times reported on an EQUAL Act rally at the Capitol, noting that EQUAL “passed the House 361-66, but advocates fear the bill will get sidetracked in a busy summer session before senators head home to hit the campaign trail in the fall.”

Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) publicly disclosed at a conference last week that discussions are underway about crafting a bipartisan cannabis package that includes expungement. “These talks are very serious,” Marijuana Moment quoted a criminal justice reform source as saying. “I would say this is one of the most serious bipartisan, bicameral conversations that we’ve seen occur.”

Marijuana Moment, New Details On Congressional Marijuana Omnibus Bill Emerge As Lawmakers Work For 60 Senate Votes (June 13)

Washington Times, Equal Act backers rally for Senate action on new drug-sentencing norms (June 8, 2022)

Marijuana Moment, New Details On Congressional Marijuana Omnibus Bill Emerge As Lawmakers Work For 60 Senate Votes (June 10, 2022)