As many Cannabis.net readers have read and shared our first review critical review of Senator Schumer’s Cannabis Administration and Opportuinty Act here, we decided to dig and look through some of the fine print of the new bill that would legalize marijuana at the Federal level. Cannabis has come a long way, from being the most hated substance in America to one of the most desired substances in the country. Many states have already legalized cannabis to offer their residents safe access to marijuana and maximize the revenue it attracts.
Regardless of this improvement, there is still a lot of backwardness at the federal level with the American government’s refusal to legalize it. Therefore any piece of legislation that seems to agitate for federal legislation always makes the news.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s federal legalization marijuana bill
The senator’s first draft of the bill was released with its sponsors asking for public contributions and additions, improving its chances of scaling before it is formally introduced.
Senator Schumer was joined by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and Senator Cory Booker to unveil the draft at a press conference. The bill is labeled as an ‘Extensive” one titled Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act with details up to 163 pages.
The features of the proposed bill
The main aspects of the bill align with the ideals of cannabis experts and enthusiasts who want a federal legalization status for marijuana. It also contains sections that expunge previous convictions and allowances for Americans to send petitions.
Some petitions include maintaining the state authorities, which empowers the state government to set their cannabis policies—the bill advocates for removing collateral consequences such as immigration-related penalties for individuals criminalized over cannabis possession.
Senator Wyden maintained that the prohibition of cannabis exemplifies how America has failed in its “War against drugs.” He asserts that the stiff laws prohibiting cannabis have caused harm to American communities, minority communities, and small businesses.
The senators backing the bill insist on their three-point agenda:
The bill also seeks to impose a federal tax on cannabis products and use some of its revenue for grant programs. Such programs are aimed at supporting people from affected minority communities: those impacted by the marijuana prohibition.
The legislation will also transfer regulatory authority over marijuana from The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to the following Federal Parastatals:
The bill will also establish a Federal standard for marijuana use such that only those 21 years or older can purchase recreational marijuana products. Every state in the country that allows for adult-use cannabis will be mandated to maintain the Federal age restrictions.
Cannabis sales will be capped, with adults only allowed to buy up to 10 ounces at a time. There will also be a newly created definition for the term “Cannabis” under federal law, but it will still retain the exception for hemp.
The Federal Cannabis Reform Bill as an end to the War on Drugs
Senator Schumer has liked the war on drugs in America to a war on people and, more especially, people of color. He hopes that the proposed legislation will enable the removal of cannabis from the Federal list of controlled substances.
He wants the bill to fix the country’s criminal justice system while ensuring restorative justice, protecting public health, and implementing legal taxes and regulations.
In agreement with his partners, Senator Booker states that for many years, the Federal Government’s War on Drugs has unfairly affected low-income communities and minority groups (people of color).
Red and Blue states, in a bi-partisan effort, are legalizing marijuana all over the country, the federal government continues to lag. This bill is a unique opportunity for Congress to put an end to the Federal prohibition of marijuana. It is also a time to reinvest into communities most impacted by the disastrous and failed war on drugs.
Required feedback on the proposed draft bill
Although cannabis supporters want the bill immediately acknowledged and passed, it still needs to be evaluated and perfected before it gets to the floor of the house. Therefore, the senators backing the bill are seeking feedback on the bill, which includes:
The goal of attaining federal legalization of cannabis is attainable, but it requires all of our combined efforts while the three senators lead the charge on the floor of the house. If marijuana is accepted at the federal level, we will benefit from it and set the pace for other countries to follow suit.
America is always viewed as a forerunner with innovative ideas, and legalizing marijuana nationwide just might be the next innovative export from America to the world.
The Cannabis Reform Bill has been one of the most highly anticipated pieces of legislation. Cannabis experts and enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting this proposed bill since February when Senators Schumer, Wyden, and Booker first pledged their commitment to the bill.
Since February, the Senate majority leader has been making a case for reforms. The three senators also held a meeting early this year to get support from the cannabis community. They met with various advocacy groups to garner feedback on the best steps to take towards reform.
With this combined effort, it is safe to say that the days of Federal cannabis prohibition are numbered. Several other bills and legislations failed, but this one has reignited hope in the hearts of many people in the cannabis industry.
Once upon a time, no state wanted to legalize cannabis, and today, about 18 states (Including Washington DC) have legalized it. It’s coming home to the Federal level soon, and we couldn’t be more pleased about the news.