2 Republican Lawmakers Introduce Federal Cannabis Legalization Bill

May 14, 2021 9:25 am
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2 Republican Lawmakers Introduce Federal Cannabis Legalization Bill

Two Republican congressmen have introduced a bill that would bring federal cannabis legalization to the U.S.

Representatives David Joyce and Don Young, from Ohio and Arkansas respectively, introduced the Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses and Medical Professionals Act on Wednesday, Marijuana Moment reported.

“For too long, the federal government's outdated cannabis policies have stood in the way of both individual liberty and a state's 10th Amendment rights. It is long past time that these archaic laws are updated for the 21st Century,” Young said in a press release.

Both representatives sit on the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Rep. David Joyce added that there are already more than 40 States taking action on cannabis legislation

“My legislation answers the American people’s call for change,” Joyce stated.

What the Bill Does: The act would deschedule cannabis from the list of controlled substances and provide protections to banks offering services to cannabis-related businesses.

The bill also puts special emphasis on allowing physicians to discuss and recommend medical cannabis to veterans.

Finally, the legislation would order the National Institutes of Health to conduct studies on the effects of medical marijuana no more than two years after the passage of the bill.

Still Lacking Social Equity Measures: Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project, said that his organization is "hopeful that subsequent negotiations and versions of this bill will include robust social justice and equity provisions to address the devastation caused by prohibition and the failed War on Drugs."

This comment highlights the fact that the introduced Republican bill lacks language pertaining to providing social and economic reparations to communities most affected by cannabis prohibition.

“Federal legalization must be drafted and regulated to provide social and economic justice for the millions of lives upended by discrimination and unequal enforcement. By including those most harmed, we can build an equitable, well-regulated, and inclusive cannabis industry from the ground up,” Hawkins added.

What’s Next?: In April, the House cleared the SAFE banking act, a bill written to protect banks and financial entities from federal prosecution for working with cannabis companies.

The SAFE act passed a House vote with bi-partisan support for the fourth time.

In December of 2020, the House also passed the MORE act, a full-fledged cannabis legalization bill.

Both bills now await a Senate vote with uncertain results.
In the meantime, Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer, Ron Wyden and Cory Booker are working on a more comprehensive bill that is expected to be introduced soon. The bill would include federal legalization as well as social equity measures.

Photo by Darren Halstead on Unsplash

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