The debate on fully legalising marijuana in the United States sparked again on Wednesday as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed federal legislation to decriminalise weed.
“This is monumental. At long last, we are taking steps in the Senate to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs,” Schumer said in a press conference at the U.S. Capitol.
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The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act will delist cannabis products from the Controlled Substances Act and seeks to impose federal regulations and taxation on the industry that boomed exponentially in recent years.
Relief for nonviolent cannabis offenders
It will also remove federal records of arrests and convictions related to nonviolent marijuana crimes. Those already in prison will be given an opportunity to petition for resentencing. The bill also has support from Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Cory Booker.
“For decades, our federal government has waged a War on Drugs that has unfairly impacted low-income communities and communities of colour. While red and blue states across the country continue to legalise marijuana, the federal government continues to lag woefully behind. It is time for Congress to end the federal marijuana prohibition and reinvest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.”
Schumer needs at least 60 votes
Revenue from taxing cannabis products will go to a new Opportunity Trust Fund that will invest in communities that took the hardest hit from the government’s restrictive drug policies. To pass the bill through the U.S. Senate, Schumer needs 60 votes, including a minimum of 10 from the Republican Party.
Roughly 70% of Americans favour decriminalising weed, as per the results of public polling. Medical marijuana is so far legal in 37 states and recreational one in 18. President Biden, however, doesn’t support legalising cannabis and the related products are still illegal on the federal level.
Why weed stocks are down on Wednesday
Weed stocks, including Cannabis Growth and Aurora Cannabis, were down on Wednesday as the bill could levy a 10% federal tax on cannabis sales in the beginning and a much higher up to 25% later on. This makes the pot business at large a little less charming. Moreover, even after the federal legislation, states will remain in charge of deciding if they’d want to continue the ban on marijuana.
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