Republicans may have taken the lead in the push to legalize cannabis on the federal level. The States Reform Act appears to be a comprehensive bill repealing the federal prohibition of marijuana, expunging federal non-violent marijuana crimes, like being caught with cannabis or any cannabis supplies, promoting local ownership in the emerging regulated industry, and placing restrictions on the regulated cannabis advertising. The proposal, drafted by Republican Representative Nancy Mace, would remove cannabis’s Schedule I drug classification. This designation allows states to continue to determine their level of cannabis reform.
“Between the previously passed MORE Act, the recent Senate proposal by Leader Schumer, and this new bill, it is truly a race to the top for the best ideas and smartest approaches to responsible reform,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal.
Additionally, the bill would protect veterans from discrimination in federal hiring due to cannabis use. And doctors with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs could recommend medical cannabis treatment for veterans.
The USDA would regulate cannabis growers under the USDA. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms would regulate cannabis products. And, the FDA would be limited to prescribing serving sizes, certifying designated state medical cannabis products, and approving and regulating pharmaceuticals derived from marijuana.
No state or local government would have to change its current cannabis policies. It continues to allow states to decide on prohibition or regulation.
The draft legislation would impose a 3.75% excise tax on cannabis sales – slightly lighter than the MORE Act‘s Proposed Excise Tax Design which starts at 5% and increases to 8% over three years. Revenue from taxation would support grant programs for reintegration, law enforcement, and aids for newly licensed businesses and Small Business Administration agency, which would need to treat marijuana businesses the same as other regulated markets.
“This bill supports veterans, law enforcement, farmers, businesses, those with serious illnesses, and it is good for criminal justice reform,” Mace said. “Furthermore, a super-majority of Americans support an end to cannabis prohibition.”
A recent survey shows that 68% of Americans support legalizing marijuana. Eighty-three percent of Democrats and 7`% of political independents support legalization, but only 50% of Republicans are in favor.
The bill has not yet been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.