U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) filed a sweeping marijuana decriminalization bill June 27 that would leave regulation in the hands of states. The bill would also remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.
The bill would, however, maintain federal law enforcement's authority to prosecute interstate "drug trafficking."
As a point of differentiation from other decriminalization and legalization bills, Schumer's bill would involve the Small Business Administration and create "dedicated funding streams" to support women- and minority-owned cannabis businesses to the tune of 10 percent of all cannabis tax revenue or $10 million (whichever amount is greater).
And tracking with other legislative trends in states that have legalized cannabis, Schumer's bill would help fund states' marijuana conviction expungement processes.
“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.”
Schumer first announced this bill more than two months ago. "I'll be introducing legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level from one end of the country to the other," he said at the time. "The legislation is long overdue."
Read the full bill here:
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