The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, chaired by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), scheduled a meeting for July 26, titled “Decriminalizing Cannabis at the Federal Level: Necessary Steps to Address Past Harms.”
The details of the meeting are not yet available. However, since it comes on the heels of Senate Democrats’ plan to present a bill to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, it is likely that senators on the panel will be debating that very measure.
Reports that the long-awaited legislation from Booker, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) could be introduced this week, sent cannabis stocks soaring on Monday.
Schumer and fellow Sens. Booker and Wyden introduced the outline of the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act (CAOA) in July 2021. The proposal includes plans to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, expunge prior convictions and allow people who are serving time for applicable crimes to petition for resentencing.
In addition, states would retain the right to set their marijuana policies and help those who've been criminalized over the cannabis plant.
The timeline for filing the final version of the comprehensive marijuana reform proposal was postponed several times, with Schumer promising to file it sometime before the August recess.
“Make no mistake, I’m working diligently with my Senate colleagues to make sure that the federal government catches up. This bill will be comprehensive, and I promise we will introduce this important legislation before the August recess,” Schumer said at the National Cannabis Policy Summit in April.
“It’s the right thing to do. It’s about individual freedom and basic fairness,” he noted, adding that the war on drugs has been “a war on people—and overwhelmingly people of color.”
With this newly-announced subcommittee hearing on the marijuana legalization question, Schumer may fulfill his promise any day now.
The list of those attending the hearing is not publicly available yet, although it can be expected to include both legalization advocates and opponents.
Even though a majority of Americans support comprehensive marijuana reform, opposition comes largely from the Republican party — although some GOP leaders support legalization, including Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) who introduced her own cannabis legalization bill, the States Reform Act last November.
For this precise reason, Schumer has postponed the filing of the measure to allow enough time to work on it. He has been urging his colleagues to help him create a bill that would be acceptable to as many as possible. He went as far as asking what Republicans need to be in the bill in order to support it.
Did he succeed in creating a proposal that would satisfy the needs of both parties? We’ll soon find out.
Photo edit: Benzinga; Source: Pexels by Kindel Media and Paula Nardini
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