The measure looks to address the disproportionate harms of the drug war and to bolster equity in the overwhelmingly white weed industry.

As the number of states legalizing marijuana continues to grow, this morning senate democrats unveiled a plan that would remove nationwide a prohibition on marijuana and create federal rules similar to controls established for tobacco.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and fellow Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) released the outline of the proposed Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act to solicit input from the public. Not yet a formal bill, after they receive input from members of Congress and the public, they’ll craft a final bill that will likely be introduced this fall.

Senator Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, calls on his colleagues in Congress to catch up with the American people, 70% of whom already support legalization.

“For decades, our federal government has waged a War on Drugs that has unfairly impacted low-income communities and communities of color,” Booker said in a statement. “While red and blue states across the country continue to legalize marijuana, the federal government continues to lag woefully behind. It is time for Congress to end the federal marijuana prohibition and reinvest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs. I am proud to introduce this landmark piece of legislation with Senator Wyden and Majority Leader Schumer that will finally turn the page on this dark chapter in American history and begin righting these wrongs.”

Kansas is one of the few states that still does not allow any kind of legal marijuana consumption.  Eighteen states and Washington, D.C. allow adult-use while 37 states have legalized medical marijuana.

The legislation allows states to determine their own laws, as they have the authority to do so around alcohol, but cannabis would not be illegal under federal law. This would allow U.S. cannabis companies to use the banking system, apply for loans and list on major stock exchanges.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would be the primary federal regulatory authority concerning the manufacture, labeling and marketing of cannabis products. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau would be charged with the collection and enforcement of federal cannabis excise taxes as well as tracking and tracing of cannabis products.

Federal excise taxes on cannabis products would start at 10% and increase to 25% within five years after the bill becomes law.

The bill also incorporates social justice measures, like the immediate expungement of federal non-violent marijuana crimes. People who are currently serving sentences in federal prison for non-violent cannabis offenses would be able to petition a court for resentencing. Some of the revenue generated by federal cannabis taxes would be reinvested in the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs and also go towards cannabis entrepreneurs of socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

“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,” the senators write in the draft.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *