Democratic Senators Move to Legalize Cannabis

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Three United States Democratic senators are moving to decriminalize marijuana on a federal level. Two sources briefed on the plan disclosed the information to Marijuana Moment on Wednesday, July 13, 2021. According to the sources, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) planned to hold a press conference for later on that day.

The Senators are calling the preliminary version the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. The proposal’s details and provisions are not yet available. They released the draft of the marijuana bill to spark conversation about the future introduction of the bill.

Back in February, Schumer, Wyden, and Booker announced they had plans for a federal cannabis legalization bill. At that time, they pledged the bill would be ready “in the early part of this year.” Over the next few months, Schumer has repeatedly stated that it was coming “soon.” It now seems the bill will be hitting the Senate floor soon.

CannabisIn the Democratic senators’ discussion draft, they proposed to allow adults — age 21 years and older — Americans the ability to buy and possess up to 10 ounces — or equivalent amount in products — of marijuana without facing penalties. The bill would allow for further medical research on cannabis. The bill would expunge federal non-violent marijuana crimes. It would also allow cannabis companies access to essential financial services.

Cannabis is allowed recreationally by adults in 18 states, and medically in 37 states. However, it is still illegal under U.S. federal law, discouraging banks and others from dealing with companies that sell cannabis or marijuana-related products.

The Senators’draft also suggests a new definition of cannabis. Making it established and moving it from the oversight of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); taking it away from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The three Democratic Senators’ draft further states that every U.S. state will control the production, possession, and distribution of cannabis. Shipping to states that have not legalized marijuana will be prohibited. However, those states will not be allowed to stop shipments from traveling through their borders to other legalized regions.

Senator Chuck Grassley stated that further testing is needed to be conducted on cannabis. He feels, “This new bill puts the cart before the horse.”

Feedback on the Senators’ draft can be provided until September 1st and a final legislative draft will be introduced later.

The idea this bill could hit the Senate floor soon has excited many in the cannabis industry and those who enjoy it for recreational or medical reasons. PA Patient Podcast posted to their Twitter page, “Hmm… Maybe a lot of public pressure did have some effect.”

Written by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

Reuters: U.S. Senate Democrats roll out draft bill to legalize weed; by Arathy NairShariq Khan

Marijuana Moment: Schumer To Unveil Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill On Wednesday; by Kyle Jaeger

Top, Inline, and Featured Image Courtesy of Bob Doran’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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