U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn) has introduced a bill that would regulate cannabis like alcohol and tobacco, giving regulatory authority to the Food and Drug Administration. The proposal sets the legal purchase and consumption age at 21, would establish a national strategy to combat cannabis use by youth, and establish rules for cannabis-impaired driving.
The measure would remove cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act.
Smith said the DUI laws should “ensure that recommended best practices do not contribute to racist enforcement patterns” and that the strategy to prevent youth use would include “special considerations to prevent racially disparate impacts of the strategy.”
“The federal prohibition on marijuana is a failed policy that contributes to mass incarceration and the racist overpolicing of communities of color. It is time to end that policy. In addition to addressing the harmful and racist legacy of the War on Drugs by passing bills like Senator Harris’ Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, we must address marijuana legalization in a manner that ensures that cannabis and cannabis products are safe, regulated, and well-researched.” – Smith in a statement
Currently, the bill sits in the Committee on the Judiciary, which is chaired by conservative South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham. The measure does not presently include any co-sponsors.
There are at least four other bills in the Senate that would legalize cannabis and allow commercial sales. All are sponsored by Democrats, which are currently the minority in the chamber.
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