Monday, October 3, 2022

Proposed Senate bill could federally legalize cannabis

The fight for North Carolina legislators to pass any sort of legalized marijuana bill may be easier to approach in coming months. The U.S. Senate introduced an act Thursday to end federal marijuana prohibition.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), formally filed the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act this week. Started as discussions with a draft proposal in July 2021, the finalized version of the bill is now pending in the U.S. Senate, according to a release from NORML, a marijuana reform group.

READ MORE: Hemp legalizes, support falls short for medical marijuana in NC

ALSO: Two marijuana bills up for review in NC: Will one finally seal the deal?

The proposed legislation would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act entirely, making it legal to possess and commercialize marijuana. It would allow states to implement cannabis policies “free from federal interference” and also reduce regulation hurdles — such as lack of access to financial services, inability to deduct standard business expenses when filing federal taxes and a lack of uniform guidance.

Included in the act is expungement for individuals who have past criminal records related to cannabis charges. Additional criminal justice reform measures would establish grant programs for small business owners from communities disproportionately impacted by previous drug laws.

The bill would set up regulation by the Food and Drug Administration and a federal taxation plan.

According to NORML, it would also diversify regulated cannabis markets.

Hearings are scheduled in the coming weeks for lawmakers to discuss provisions of the bill.


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