U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced in February that he and his colleagues would formally introduce the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) in April to federally decriminalize cannabis, but now Schumer is rethinking this timeline.
Schumer said in a statement April 14 that he and the bill’s co-sponsors, Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Ron Wyden, D.-Ore., now plan to file the legislation before recess in August, according to The Hill.
Schumer said he is proud of the progress he and his colleagues have made toward “bringing this vital bill closer to its official introduction,” the news outlet reported.
The CAOA, which Schumer, Booker and Wyden unveiled in draft form in July 2021, would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, tax and regulate cannabis at the federal level, and grant states the power to keep or administer their own oversight programs.
Many Republicans remain opposed to cannabis legalization, which could decrease the legislation’s chances of clearing the 50-50 split Senate, The Hill reported. To ensure passage, the CAOA would need the support of all Democrats in the chamber and at least 10 Republicans, and some Democrats have already voiced concerns about adult-use cannabis legalization, according to the news outlet.
Wyden told The Hill that it is important for the CAOA to be formally introduced “well before the August recess to continue building momentum for cannabis reform.”
The momentum he is referring to likely stems from the House passing the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act for the second time earlier this month to federally decriminalize cannabis.
And, just last week, U.S. Reps. Dave Joyce, Hakeem Jeffries and Brian Mast introduced the Preparing Regulators Effectively for a Post-Prohibition Adult Use Regulated Environment (PREPARE) Act, which aims to prime the federal government for an end to cannabis prohibition.