Republican Lawmakers File Bill to Federally Legalize Cannabis

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) filed a bill with other GOP lawmakers to federally legalize adult-use cannabis this week but some Republicans are less-than-excited by the proposal.

Full story after the jump.

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) formally introduced the States Reform Act on Monday, which seeks to end the federal prohibition of cannabis in favor of a tax-and-regulate model similar to alcohol, The State reports.

“This bill supports veterans, law enforcement, farmers, businesses, those with serious illnesses, and it is good for criminal justice reform. The States Reform Act takes special care to keep Americans and their children safe while ending federal interference with state cannabis laws.” — Rep. Nancy Mace, in a statement

Specifically, the proposal seeks a 3% federal excise tax on all cannabis sales with proceeds reserved for law enforcement programs, assisting the federal Small Business Administration, and supporting mental health initiatives for veterans. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau would be tasked with federally regulating sales of the plant while the U.S. Department of Agriculture would manage cannabis farming and cultivation; the FDA would maintain jurisdiction over medical cannabis regulations.

While the bill contains language addressing the expungement of nonviolent federal cannabis crimes, it stops short of the social equity clauses in other federal cannabis bills like the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.

Mace’s bill was co-sponsored by other Republican lawmakers including U.S. Reps. Brian Mast (FL), Tom McClintock (CA), Peter Meijer (MI), and Don Young (AK). But while cannabis legalization is exceedingly popular with American voters — a recent Gallup poll found that 68% of voters legalization, including about 50% of Republicans — fellow GOP lawmakers in Mace’s home state of South Carolina were quick to distance themselves from her plan.

“Our Party platform is clear: ‘We support firm enforcement of existing laws against the abuse and distribution of controlled substances, and we oppose any effort to legalize the use of controlled substances,’ and that includes marijuana,” said Drew McKissick, Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, in the report.

But Mace said her bill only gives states the option of managing their own cannabis laws: “It’s not going to force cannabis on South Carolina if South Carolina does not want it,” she told The State.


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