Senator Chuck Schumer Finally Unveils Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

“The time to decriminalize marijuana is now,” Schumer said in a statement. The bill was introduced in the Senate earlier this month, and simultaneously introduced into the House by pro-cannabis Reps.

The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act would also remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, effectively decriminalizing it federally. Like the STATES Act, this would allow any state that has legalized – or wishes to legalize – cannabis to do so without any risk of federal prosecution. The federal government would still be tasked with cracking down on black market weed smuggling from canna-legal states to states where the drug is still prohibited, though.

The bill also allows the Department of Treasury to set nationwide regulations on marijuana advertising, in order to ensure that cannabis products are not being advertised to children. The legislation would also address fears of stoned drivers by setting aside $250 million in funding to invest in highway safety research and means to reliably measure cannabis impairment on drivers. An additional $500 million would be set aside for medical research on cannabis, targeted at identifying risks of long-term use as well as further benefits of medical marijuana.

Schumer has also drafted initiatives to support “Communities that have been disproportionately affected by our current marijuana laws.” The bill would create grant programs to provide financial incentives to local and state governments that assist anyone convicted of minor cannabis offenses in expunging or sealing their records. Additional funding would be made available to the Small Business Administration to provide financial assistance to women- and minority-owned cannabis startups.

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