Schumer proposes bill to decriminalize marijuana at federal level

Chuck Schumer

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters after the Democrats’ policy luncheon, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVO) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday released a proposal to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. If adopted, the act would end the federal ban on marijuana and regulate at tax it like alcohol and tobacco.

Forbes reported that the legislation would allow states to determine their own laws, but cannabis would no longer be illegal under federal law. It would allow for marijuana companies to use the banking system, apply for loans, and list on the U.S. stock exchange.

Currently, 18 states allow adult use of cannabis, and 37 states have legalized medical use of marijuana.

The bill would include social justice measures, such as expunging federal non-violent marijuana crimes. Some of the revenue from federal cannabis taxes would be reinvested in communities impacted by the War on Drugs.

“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. “State-compliant cannabis businesses will finally be treated like other businesses and allowed access to essential financial services, like bank accounts and loans. Medical research will no longer be stifled.

The bill would also allow for government funded research of cannabis legalization, including usage, crime rates, employment statistics, traffic accidents, hospitalizations, calls to poison control centers, among others.

The bill would need at least 60 votes to pass the Senate. President Joe Biden has previously said he does not support legalization.

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