For years, states that want to decriminalize marijuana and the federal government have been at odds as the federal government has held onto an antiquated system that seeks to penalize people for small amounts of marijuana possession. Now, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, has proposed federal legislation that would effectively ease this tension. If passed, people who live in states where the use of marijuana is legalized would be free to sell and consume it without fear of federal punishment.
Here is what I know about the proposal so far and what it might mean for you.
Details About the Proposal
The draft bill is called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. It proposes to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, effectively moving toward marijuana legalization. States would still be permitted to establish their own marijuana laws under the proposal.
Senator Schumer publicly announced that the bill is long overdue and the damage caused by over-criminalizing marijuana needs to be undone. The new proposal would try to unwind some of the harm it has disproportionally caused to communities of color and the poor by immediately expunging nonviolent marijuana-related arrests and convictions. Additionally, funds would be set aside from new tax revenue generated by sales to create or fund restorative justice programs.
Senator Schumer wrote the bill, along with Democrat Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon and the chairman of the Finance Committee. The bill would begin the regulation and taxation of marijuana. Under the proposal, the Food and Drug Administration and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau would be responsible for regulating the manufacture, distribution, and sale of marijuana. Businesses that are currently operating marijuana companies would be able to claim federal tax deductions for business expenses.
The legislation also proposes a federal excise tax on the sale of marijuana. These funds would go toward diverse and low-income communities, expand medical research into cannabis use, establish a social justice organization to fund job training, legal assistance, and help with re-entry after incarceration, and promote loans for small cannabis businesses.
Additionally, the federal government would stop discriminating against marijuana users seeking federal public benefits, including for housing, health, or food.
State of the Union: Marijuana Decriminalization
Currently, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow for marijuana for medical purposes. Additionally, the District of Columbia and 18 states allow adults to use marijuana legally for recreational use.
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If you are charged with a drug crime in Las Vegas, you need the assistance of a Las Vegas drug crime attorney like me, Joel Mann. I’m a marijuana lawyer who represents clients throughout all of Nevada in state and federal courts. I don’t believe that possession of a small amount of marijuana should have a permanent effect on your future. I’m a Las Vegas drug charge lawyer who will fight to protect your rights at all stages of your case. I’m on call 24/7 to answer your questions and offer affordable retainer and payment options. Contact me today to discuss your case during a confidential consultation.