Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer unveiled comprehensive proposed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana on Wednesday; this kicked off a heated debate in the Senate and made a big impact with one of Schumer’s election promises.
The Bill Will Allow States to Decide Whether or Not They Will Decriminalize
The bill proposed by the New York Democrat, together with Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, would repeal national marijuana prohibitions; the legislation would also expunge minor federal cannabinoid criminal history and allow states to decide whether or not to decriminalize the substance.
During recent times, the legalization of marijuana has grown fast all over the U.S., with 18 states embracing complete legalization and 37 allowing medicinal cannabis. Although public opinion implies strong support in Congress for reforming cannabis regulations, this movement has yet to be reflected in the Senate.
Schumer’s own party has a few dissenters; furthermore, the Senate Majority Leader will have to wrangle at least ten conservative votes for the bill during a very crowded Senate schedule. Much of the schedule currently includes Biden government objectives on construction, community policing, and school.
A new Senate bill to legalize marijuana would let cannabis companies use banking services and trade on major stock exchanges https://t.co/xXr6iVe8SJ
— Bloomberg (@business) July 14, 2021
To get President Biden to pass the agreement, Schumer would have to corner him. Biden has backed decriminalization of cannabis, but not allowing it.
What Exactly Does this Bill Entail?
The Cannabis Governance and Opportunities Act’s debate draft has measures that appeal to both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. While the plan proposes to eliminate all federal marijuana prohibitions, it also allows states to outlaw cannabis use, manufacturing, and sale, as a gesture to states’ sovereignty.
This would support a variety of government research projects ranging from impaired driving to the effects of marijuana on the human mind. The bill intends to gather information on road fatalities, murder rates, and other social ills that Republican politicians frequently raise.
Democrats have a new plan to legalize marijuana federally https://t.co/mY89VPRNzF pic.twitter.com/qSOxfb2Z3L
— The Verge (@verge) July 14, 2021
On the other hand, the plan makes provisions that are important to liberals. This contains three award programs aimed at assisting socially or financially deprived people, those who have been harmed by the drug war, and those who have had federal non-violent marijuana crimes expunged.
To be qualified for any government funding provided by the bill, states and towns must also implement an expedited amnesty scheme for prior marijuana convictions.
Senate Democrats unveiling push to legalize marijuana at federal level https://t.co/WD4KvM9Qqb pic.twitter.com/nNbG2LgS75
— The Hill (@thehill) July 14, 2021
The legislature’s debate draft is predicated on bills introduced by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in December that aimed to repeal federal marijuana prohibition, wipe some felony convictions, and establish a social responsibility federal grant, among many other things.
However, because the Senate was controlled by Republicans at the time, the bill was seen as a means to send a message and measure support for the subject.
The floor vote was primarily split along partisan lines, with some centrist Democrats joining conservatives in their opposition to such substantial revisions. Few conservatives supported the bill, including GOP Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio, co-chair of the Congress Cannabis Coalition, who voted nay, due to concerns about expungements as well as the tax system.