Several states — 19 — have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Many more — 37 — have set up medical marijuana programs. While largely ignored by federal officials, any use of the drug remains illegal at the federal level. However, some states that have legalized pot have run into problems with some federal funding.
The bill — introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — is titled the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. It will decriminalize recreational — or any other use — of marijuana at the federal level and will let states decide what they want to do with the drug.
Schumer — along with Oregon Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden and New Jersey Democrat, Sen. Cory Booker — tried to do this over a year ago to no success. This bill — since the odds of passing it are not in its favor because of Republican opposition — is aimed at starting the conversation.
Parts of this bill will likely find their way into the final solution that Democrats hope will be done by the end of the year.
This bill does away with records for people who’ve been prosecuted for pot use and will set up a fund to help law enforcement at state and federal levels fight illegal cannabis cultivation.
The legislation will also help small businesses from communities hurt by past drug laws and that are now entering the marijuana industry.
“When a state like South Dakota votes by referendum to legalize, you know something is out there,” Schumer said a year ago. “The American people started speaking sort of with a clear message. More than two-to-one, that they want the law changed.”
Schumer is correct about his numbers. In fact, they are better than two-to-one. Polls show 66% of us back the idea of legalizing cannabis. That number is even higher with younger voters.
The U.S. House of Representatives have twice passed bills legalizing the drug and have sent those bills to the Senate where they died. Schumer, however, is not discouraged.
He says eventually he will get this done.
“[Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell would never bring these things to the floor,” Schumer said last year when the original bill was introduced. “We’ll move forward and try to get this done as soon as we possibly can.”
BTW, in Washington State, the governor signed into law a bill passed by the Legislature that makes it illegal to use the word marijuana. You can call it pot, or weed, or cannabis, but it is — according to the governing powers of the state — racist to call marijuana by that name.
We’re not sure if the federal government will take the same stance.
Source link: Politico — https://politi.co/3PAUJwv
The Push to Make Marijuana Legal
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