One Step Closer to the Federal Decriminalization of Marijuana

by Jan Frazier

Washington, D.C. (Washington Insider Magazine) – Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is working on introducing legislation that would “decriminalize marijuana on a federal level.” Schumer said, “At long last, we are taking steps in the Senate to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs.”

Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Schumer are working on a draft bill called The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. This draft bill would take marijuana off the Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana would then be regulated and taxed.

Marijuana has been decriminalized in 37 states, and 18 of those states “have fully legalized” the substance. The majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana not only for medical use but also for recreational use.

This legislation would erase all “nonviolent marijuana-related arrests and convictions from federal records.”

This draft bill would bring about new tax revenue from the sale of the substance, and it could help pay for “restorative justice programs.” These programs could address “consequences the war on drugs had on communities.”

A news release that accompanied the draft bill said, “By ending the failed federal prohibition of cannabis, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act will ensure that Americans, especially Black and Brown Americans, no longer have to fear arrest or be barred from public housing or federal financial aid for higher education for using cannabis in states where it’s legal.”

It would be necessary for the marijuana industry to follow federal rules and guidelines. However, all states would have complete control over their own states’ marijuana guidelines. There would be no more federal punishment for businesses who wanted to sell marijuana. These businesses would also have available financial services, such as bank accounts and loans.

Wyden told NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday, “We legalized adult use in 2014, and, oh my goodness, the skeptics said that Western civilization was going to pretty much end. What we have seen, in terms of the actual facts, is we generated more than six times the predicted revenue.”

According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in April, “60 percent of Americans say marijuana should be legalized for recreational and medical use, while 31 percent say only medical use should be legalized.” Also, according to that survey, 8 percent thought that marijuana should not be legal at all.


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