A GOP alternative to ending marijuana prohibition emerges
Congressional Republicans have largely ceded the ground on ending marijuana prohibition to Democrats…who promptly failed to get something done.
Now comes a new GOP proposal from South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace that is far simpler, and embraces marijuana federalism:
Mace says the bill is designed to accommodate state marijuana policies, which range from complete prohibition to general legalization for adult use. “Every state is different,” Mace says in a press release, noting that her own state, South Carolina, has gone no further than allowing medical use of the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid CBD, while “California and others” allow commercial production and distribution of marijuana for recreational use. “Cannabis reform at the federal level must take all of this into account. And it’s past time federal law codifies this reality.”
More specifically, the bill would:
…remove cannabis from the CSA’s schedules of controlled substances, and both would establish a nationwide minimum purchase age of 21…would require automatic expungement of federal criminal records related to nonviolent marijuana offenses, bar the Small Business Administration (SBA) from discriminating against state-licensed cannabusinesses, and allow Veterans Health Administration doctors to recommend medical marijuana. [Like Sen. Chuck Schumer’s bill, it] would leave states free to ban marijuana but would bar interference with shipments between jurisdictions where cannabis is legal.
It’s also big on criminal justice reform and bringing the marijuana industry fully into the financial system:
…noting that the States Reform Act “provides opportunities for reentry for non-violent, non-DUI cannabis offenders who had no relation to a foreign drug cartel and pose no further threat to society, consistent with the policies of the Department of Justice under President Trump for clemency for non-violent cannabis offenders.
“The States Reform Act completely removes federal prohibition and allows states to compete and decide how they wish to treat cannabis,” Lawrence notes. “It removes federal tax penalties against marijuana companies and opens up banking. It recognizes that legal markets must compete with black markets on price and therefore charges only a 3 percent excise tax, along with licensing fees not to exceed $10,000. Finally, it extends these changes back in time by expunging the records of those who have been arrested for nonviolent federal cannabis crimes.”
Positive steps and proposals that could get even some die-hard drug warriors on board.