On Wednesday, Senate Democrats will introduce legislation to abolish federal prohibition of marijuana and remove it from the government’s list of prohibited drugs.
The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act would officially remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act so it can be regulated and taxed. It is presently listed as a Schedule I drug, which are fully illegal.
If the proposal became law, Congress would also be able to place rules on the growing pot industry, which is presently governed by a patchwork of various laws in states where the substance is already legal.
“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,” a draft of the legislation states.
The bill requires people arrested and convicted of nonviolent marijuana offences to have their records erased from federal records.
It would also generate additional tax income for restorative justice initiatives aimed at assisting communities harmed by previous marijuana prohibitions.
Marijuana usage is currently legal in the District of Columbia, 18 states, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam, according to the proposed measure. Marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed in 37 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.
“Today, more than 90% of Americans believe cannabis should be legal either for adult or medical use Despite legalization under state law and broad public support for cannabis legalization cannabis remains illegal under federal law,” the draft bill says.
Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., as well as Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are named as “sponsoring officers” of the measure.
Republicans in the legislature are expected to oppose their bill, as they have already opposed restorative justice programmes and the concept of the government getting engaged in the cannabis market.
The House passed legislation to remove marijuana from the restricted drugs list last year, and the bill was reintroduced in May.