GOP-Led Federal Legalization Bill Signals Congressional Shift

A Republican-led cannabis legalization effort is aiming to federally deschedule cannabis and expunge some nonviolent cannabis crimes but stops short of social equity considerations.

Full story after the jump.

A federal cannabis legalization bill is being circulated by Republican members of Congress in preparation for its official filing, expected later this month, Marijuana Moment reports.

The 116-page States Reform Act, led by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), reportedly seeks to deschedule cannabis at the federal level and allot regulatory powers across multiple federal agencies. Under the proposal, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) would be tasked with regulating interstate cannabis commerce while raw cannabis materials would be regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The FDA’s authority, meanwhile, would be limited to determining serving sizes and designating state medical cannabis products — the FDA would also still be in charge of regulating cannabis-based pharmaceuticals.

The proposal carries a federal 3.75% excise tax on cannabis sales, revenue from which would be dedicated to supporting community reentry, law enforcement, and financial aid through the federal Small Business Administration. The bill also includes expungement provisions for certain federal nonviolent cannabis crimes but does not appear to carry further justice reforms like social equity considerations, which puts it at odds with other congressional legalization proposals like the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act or the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which is led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

It is not yet clear whether the bill will manage to draw bipartisan support but Rep. Mace’s proposal does carry specific protections for existing cannabis businesses, which might go a long way toward getting industry stakeholders on board with the Republican-led legalization effort, according to the report.

The draft bill is still being circulated and the details above are subject to possible changes.

A Gallup poll released last week found that support for federal cannabis legalization among U.S. adults is at an all-time high of 68%.


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