After more than two months since Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced forthcoming marijuana reform legislation, this week finally saw the bill’s introduction. The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act removes marijuana from the schedule of controlled substances, allowing states to determine their own cannabis policies without fear of federal interference.
The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, cosponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), would specifically remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, effectively decriminalizing the substance at the federal level and allowing states to determine their own cannabis policies without the threat of interference.
The full text of the bill describes further provisions, including providing funding to cannabis businesses owned by women and people of color through the Small Business Administration; funding studies on traffic safety, impairment detection technology, and health effects of cannabis; restricting advertising that could appeal to children; and setting aside $100 million over five years to help states develop streamlined procedures for expunging or sealing prior cannabis convictions.
“We commend Senator Schumer for joining the growing chorus of Congressional leaders stepping forward with alternatives to the failed prohibition of marijuana,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “With millions of Americans already living in states that successfully regulate adult-use cannabis and support for national legalization at record levels, this legislation would finally align federal marijuana policies with mainstream voter sentiment.”