The United States seems to be on the verge of ending the decades-long prohibition of cannabis, as the draft of a long-anticipated Senate bill that will federally legalize marijuana has been released.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and fellow Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the outline of the proposed Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act on Wednesday.
The "discussion draft" is not yet a formal bill; sponsors are now asking for public input to refine the legislation before the formal introduction, Marijuana Moment writes.
The Bill’s Details
The proposal includes plans to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. If passed, the bill would also expunge prior convictions and allow people who are serving time for applicable crimes to petition for resentencing, according to Chicago Sun-Times.
In addition, states would keep their rights to set their own marijuana policies and help those who've been criminalized over the cannabis plant.
Schumer recently said that the proposal will "ensure restorative justice, public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations."
Grant programs for the funding of nonprofits providing services to those impacted by past drug policies, as well as aid programs and loans related to equitable licensing and launching of small businesses, are also featured in the bill's draft.
Finally, the proposal would regulate and tax marijuana, like alcohol and tobacco.
Moreover, under the Schumer bill, regulatory authority over cannabis will be transferred from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
While the main features of the bill align with what advocates and stakeholders have been fighting for, one component of the legislation that allows agencies to "continue to include cannabis for purposes of drug testing of Federal employees" is likely to kick off a debate.
Nevertheless, the leaders of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) believe that the "days of federal prohibition are numbered."
Click here to learn more about what the Schumer bill means for the Cannabis Industry.
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