Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer introduced the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act on June 27, with co-sponsors Sens. Bernie Sanders, Tim Kaine and Tammy Duckworth.
According the press release, the bill would decriminalize cannabis by removing it from the list of controlled substances, respect states’ rights, level the economic playing field, ensure public safety, invest in public health, protect children, and finally, incentivize sealing and expungement programs.
“The time to decriminalize marijuana is now,” Schumer said in a press release. “The new Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is about giving states the freedom to be the laboratories that they should be and giving Americans – especially women and minority business owners as well as those convicted of simple possession of marijuana intended for personal use- the opportunity to succeed in today’s economy. This legislation is simply the right thing to do and I am hopeful that the balanced approach it takes can earn bipartisan support in Congress and across the country.”
The bill would help communities that have been disadvantaged by current cannabis laws. It would also promote research on the medical benefits of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Trafficking cannabis between state lines would remain a crime. It also grants the federal government the right to ban cannabis advertisements, similar to how cigarette ads are regulated.
The proposal was endorsed by NORML, with enthusiasm. A similar effort to protects states that have legalized cannabis was introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Gardner.
“The importance of this bill’s emphasis on facilitating the expungement the criminal records of individuals for marijuana possession cannot be overstated,” Thank you @SenSchumer for putting emphasis on expungements for those who suffered under prohibition https://t.co/ogssPKIMST
— NORML (@NORML) June 29, 2018