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US Senate Awaiting Public Comment on Cannabis Legalization

BY: Chronic Staff | Recent News | published August 11, 2021

Democratic senators have released a draft that would decriminalize cannabis nationwide.

In the effort to end unfair treatment of communities of color, Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden with Senator Cory Booker shared the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act last July 14.

It is not yet a bill. As a discussion draft, it encourages to have conversation and Congress is seeking public input on the draft through September. If it becomes a law, it will remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and empower states to implement their own cannabis laws. Americans cannot be arrested or barred from public housing or financial aid for using cannabis where it is legal, as per the press release.

18 states have legalized recreational cannabis and 37 have legalized some form of medical cannabis as of July 2021.

The bill shall allow cannabis to be regulated and taxed. It will give business owners the chance to access banks, loans, and credit. The bill will also expunge federal non-violent cannabis convictions and allow those currently in prison to petition for resentencing.

Majority Leader Schumer stated that the war on drugs has too often been a war on people and particularly people of color. Not only will this legislation remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances, but it will also help the criminal justice system. It can ensure restorative justice, protect public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations, he added in his statement.

The proposal has some similarities with another bill, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment, and Expungement Act of 2021 (the MORE Act) which was introduced to the House by Rep Jerry Nadler this year.

Meanwhile, the public can submit public comments on cannabis proposals until September 1, 2021.

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