Story at a glance:
- A comprehensive marijuana reform bill to federally legalize cannabis is rumored to be unveiled on Wednesday.
- The bill will reportedly empower small businesses over large alcohol and tobacco companies.
- The three senators behind the bill have all introduced marijuana legalization bills that never had hearings or votes.
In an effort to federally legalize cannabis, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and two other congressmen, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), will unveil a comprehensive marijuana reform bill called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, two sources leaked to Marijuana Moment.
Details of the proposal’s provisions are not yet available, but the sources say it is an entry-level conversation to a formal introduction of the bill at a later date.
In February, Schumer mentioned that he, along with Wyden and Booker, would introduce a bill to advocates, and in April, in lieu of 420, the majority leader said in a cannabis rally in New York City that change was going to happen.
“It’s not enough in my view to just end cannabis prohibition,” Schumer said in February, Marijuana Moment reported. “I think we need to restore the lives of people who’ve been hurt most by the failed war on drugs and especially black Americans.”
Not only will Schumer’s marijuana reform bill “ensure restorative justice, public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations,” but small businesses will be prioritized over large alcohol and tobacco companies, which the senator from New York does not want to monopolize the cannabis industry.
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act passed the House but did not advance in the GOP-led Senate. But now, advocates are more optimistic with Democrats in control of both chambers and the White House and as more states are moving toward legalization.
President Biden is in opposition to marijuana legalization despite its public popularity and bipartisanship from both parties.
Biden did campaign to decriminalize the possession of cannabis, expunging previous records in respect of a state’s legalization laws.
“I’m strategizing now on the next steps,” Wyden said at the time. “We need comprehensive reform, and you need legislation to do it.”
“Certainly the fact that millions of Americans have voted for at least some of what I just described means that we’re in a position to move at the federal level,” he added. “I do think that this kind of crazy quilt—particularly as it relates to regulation and the financial aspects, particularly nationwide consideration—you really need some kind of bedrock federal rules on, one, ending the prohibition; two, sensible tax policies; and three, sensible regulatory oversight.”
All three senators have introduced marijuana legalization bills that were unsuccessful.
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