January 14, 2019

June 29, 2018, New York

Cannabis has finally become a part of the legislative discussion in the federal legislature. Last week, Colorado Senator introduced a bill in Congress to provide an absolute autonomy to states in dealing with their cannabis affairs. This week, New York senator Chuck Schumer, an infamous cannabis activist, has introduced a bill to re-classify the strain in the Federal Control Substance Act.  The proposal, if passed, will definitely be a major milestone for cannabis reforms on the national level.  

The Bill Would Change the Federal Law Enforcement Against Cannabis  

The gist of Schumer’s bill is to remove cannabis from Schedule I of the controlled substance act. Schedule I drugs are considered the most prohibited items on the list. This classification actually dictates the attitude of federal law enforcement agencies towards the classified substances.  

The demotion of cannabis from schedule I won’t legalize the strain. However, it will change how DEA and other federal law enforcement bodies look towards cannabis. The re-classification will definitely be followed by a relaxed enforcement of prohibition laws.  

New York senator Chuck Schumer
New York senator Chuck Schumer – Image powered by Patch.com

Aside from this direct change that the bill will bring, some other noteworthy provisions were also part of the bill.  

  • Establishing a federal fund to assist women and people of color who own legal cannabis businesses 
  • Allocating $750 million for public health schemes and road safety programs  
  • Providing the Treasury Department an authority on the regulation of some aspects of cannabis advertising and promotions 
  • Devising a robust plan to expunge past cannabis convictions 

It is important to note that the bill is co-sponsored by senators from all across the country. The bill has succeeded in garnering support from several federal lawmakers because it will help in redefining the enforcement of pot laws. Moreover, the bill can essentially help in addressing the issue of racial disproportion in connection with drug policing. Senator Tammy Duckworth from Illinois is co-sponsoring the bill because he considers it as a piece of legislation that can address some of the grievances of African America community of the country. 

At the beginning of this year, House representative Barbara Lee introduced a bill for nationwide legalization of marijuana. It was a companion piece for Marijuana Justice Act, which was presented on the floor a few months ago by another Federal House Rep, Cory Booker, calling for a drastic change in federal prohibition law book. 

The Confused State of Affairs  

Cannabis legalization and decriminalization
Cannabis legalization and decriminalization – Image powered by Gp.org

While more cannabis-related bills are being introduced in the national legislature, the Capitol still seems confused on its cannabis policy. President trump hasn’t taken a clear stance regarding cannabis up till now.  On several occasions, however, he has hinted about its relatively progressive approach on the subject. On the other hand, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions is known for its extremely adamant view on all things cannabis. He has repeatedly suggested that federal crackdown against legal statewide weed businesses is on the cards. On the whole, no one knows where federal government stands on the issue of cannabis legalization and decriminalization. 

Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]


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