Federal Cannabis Legalization Bill Filed By Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats have again filed the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which seeks to legalize cannabis at the federal level and automatically expunge federal non-violent cannabis offenses.

Full story after the jump.

Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate this week reintroduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity (CAO) Act, which seeks to end the federal prohibition of cannabis. The bill was filed by a coalition of Democrats led by Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and Sens. Ron Wyden (OR) and Cory Booker (NJ).

“It’s past time for the federal government to catch up to the attitudes of the American people when it comes to cannabis. That’s why we’re reintroducing the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, legislation that would finally end the federal prohibition on cannabis while prioritizing safety, research, workers’ rights and restorative justice. We have more work to do to address decades of over-criminalization, particularly in communities of color, but today’s reintroduction shows the movement is growing, and I will keep working until we achieve meaningful change.” — Sen. Schumer, in a press release

The CAO, which was first introduced in 2022, would remove cannabis from the federal drug schedule, automatically expunge federal non-violent cannabis offenses, and establish a grant program aimed at helping individuals who were adversely affected by cannabis prohibition with housing, economic, and community development needs. Those grants — and additional plans to expand cannabis research programs — would be funded at least in part through a new tax structure on federally regulated cannabis products.

“These common-sense policies will ensure a more equitable criminal justice system and promote public safety,” Sen. Booker said in a statement.

Lawmakers proposed the bill on the day after it was reported that the DEA intends to move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act.

Gallup reported last November that 70% of American adults supported legalizing adult-use cannabis.

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