US Senate Democrats on Wednesday rolled out draft legislation that would federally decriminalize marijuana, with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer lending his weight to the latest legislative effort to curb America’s war on drugs.
The bill would remove pot from the list of controlled substances and allow stronger regulation and taxation of a drug that has been legalized in several states, and the uncertain but multi-billion-dollar legal industry it has created.
“This is monumental, because at long last we are taking steps in the Senate to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs,” Schumer said at a press conference with the bill’s other two sponsors, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Oregon’s Senator Ron Wyden.
The three lawmakers framed anti-marijuana laws as predominantly impacting people of color.
According to the draft, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act “aims to end the decades of harm inflicted on communities of color by removing cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and empowering states to implement their own cannabis laws.”
The legislation would create a trust funded by marijuana tax revenue that would be reinvested in communities most impacted by the war on drugs, and help Black and other minority entrepreneurs overcome barriers of access to the cannabis industry.
Booker, who is Black, pointed to the “hypocrisy” of incarcerating thousands of young people of color arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana, leaving them with crippling criminal records, “for doing things that presidents and Congress people and senators have done.”
“This is a grievous reality,” Booker added. “Lives are being destroyed every single day.”
Adult recreational use of marijuana has been legal in 18 of the 50 US states and the capital city Washington, while medical use is now legal in 37 states.
And fully 70 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, Schumer said.No tags for this post.