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Newly introduced marijuana legalization bill hopes to gain Republican support

Marijuana Legalization
Posted at 3:09 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 16:17:57-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marijuana is possibly one step closer to federal legalization.

As first published by The Hill, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act was introduced this Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I am proud to be the first Majority Leader ever to say that it is time to end the federal prohibition on cannabis," Schumer said.

The Democratic leader said the bill will update federal laws and reverse, "decades of harm inflicted by the war on drugs."

After calling for public feedback, Schumer said his office received over 1,800 comments on the bill's first draft.

Under this new bill, cannabis would become federally legal in the U.S. by removing the plant from the Controlled Substances Act.

A bill that was signed into law by President Nixon during the early 1970s.

Schumer noted that this new bill will still allow conservative states "to create their own cannabis laws."

Among the many revisions, new amendments will also include a "robust regulatory system" to ensure consumer safety.

New federal laws will also be established to help prevent impaired driving, youth access, and illegal diversions.

Schumer added that the bill will also set aside for "new research programs" that will be aimed at helping the U.S. "catch up" on studying the plant's medical potential.

Lastly, after decades of reform advocates calling for such action, the bill is set to expunge federal criminal records for those with non-violent cannabis offenses.

This new measure will also allow those currently incarcerated for said types of offenses to appeal their sentences.

“It is a tragedy that far too many Americans — particularly Black and Hispanic Americans — have permanent blots on their records making it nearly impossible to move forward with their lives," Schumer said.

"All because they were arrested with a little marijuana in their pocket."

Black Americans are said to be 3.4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, according to the ACLU.

Records show that about 663,000 arrests were conducted for marijuana-related offenses alone back in 2018.

The bill is set to include funds that will "reinvest" in communities impacted by such arrests.

The news comes as just earlier this year the House passed its own version of marijuana legalization.

A sign some are viewing that the federal government is finally becoming more open toward ending the prohibition of marijuana.

However, Democrats are still expected to face opposition in the evenly-split Senate as the bill moves on to its next phase.