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These Top Democratic Senators Join Schumer’s New Bill To Legalize Marijuana

By Nina Zdinjak

Long-awaited U.S. Senate legislation that would decriminalize and declassify cannabis at the federal level, while promoting social equity, has finally unveiled.

What happened: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senators Ron Wyden and Cory Booker’s bill — titled the Cannabis Administration And Opportunity Act (CAOA) — was introduced Thursday. Here are the highlights of the nearly 300 pages:

Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
  • The Attorney General is expected to complete rules removing marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act within 180 days of the law’s enactment.
  • Establish a 5% federal excise tax on small and medium growers of marijuana, phasing in to 12.5% ​​after five years.
  • For large companies, the tax would start at 10% and reach a maximum of 25%.
  • Recreational marijuana products would only be legal for adults 21 and older.
  • Expunged from the records of individuals with low-level federal cannabis convictions within one year of enactment.
  • Establish a federal regulatory framework for the cannabis industry with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) having the most important roles.
  • Under the FDA, there would be a Center for Cannabis Products responsible for “the production, labeling, distribution, sales, and other manufacturing and retail elements of the industry. cannabis”.

Why it matters: Schumer and colleagues Sens. Booker and Wyden presented the plan of the CAOA in July 2021. The proposal included plans to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, expunge prior convictions, and allow those serving sentences for applicable crimes to seek new sentences. The deadline for filing the final version of the full marijuana reform proposal has been repeatedly extended, with Schumer promises to drop it off some time before August vacation, and apparently fulfill the promise.

RELATED: It’s the senators who are pushing Biden to legalize cannabis

The US Cannabis Council welcomed the CAOA presentation. “The introduction of comprehensive cannabis reform legislation in the Senate, by none other than the Majority Leader himself, is the strongest sign yet that cannabis prohibition in America is nearing its end. end,” said US Cannabis Council CEO Steven Hawkins.

“We commend the authors of the CAO law for their leadership and vision. We are reviewing the updated legislative text and look forward to substantive discussions on how best to move from the illicit market to a fully regulated domestic market with opportunities for all,” Hawking continued.

“The detailed political conversations taking place around the CAO Act should not distract us from its historic nature. At the same time, the ambitious and sweeping nature of the bill should not prevent Congress from advancing limited but essential reforms, such as debarment and the SAFE Banking Act, which are immediately at hand.

RELATED: Why Chuck Schumer Could Act On Cannabis Banks Sooner Than Later

What’s Next: While most industry pundits doubt the measure will make it to President Joe Biden’s desk because it faces strong opposition from Republican senators, they agree it’s a step important for a major reform.

In addition, information that the long-awaited legislation would be introduced this week has been sent cannabis stocks soar In Monday. The introduction of the bill on Thursday could have the same effect.

SAFE Banking seems to have wider support

The bill was introduced ahead of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, chaired by Booker being scheduled a meeting for July 26, under the title “Federal Decriminalization of Cannabis: Steps Needed to Address Past Wrongs”.

Currently, most industry experts agree that the SAFE Banking Act, a bill that would allow marijuana companies access to banking services, has the best chance of passing the Senate and ending up on Biden’s desk.

So far, the SAFE Banking Act has managed to pass the United States House six times in the past three years, and lately the Senate has been under a lot of pressure to approve it.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been republished with permission.

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