Those who like to take a few puffs of the magic dragon — that’s marijuana by the way — are likely going to be thrilled by the brand new bill known as the “Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act,” that was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, on Thursday.
The legislation would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and allow states across the country to make up their own laws around the drug. There are currently nineteen states that allow any person who is 21 years old to possess and use weed, while 37 states have okayed the substance for medicinal use.
According to TheBlaze, “Competing federal and state laws regarding marijuana have created a legal gray area for businesses operating in states where marijuana is legal. The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act is intended to address that tension by eliminating federal prohibition.”
A report from ABC News stated that this is “the first time in history” that senators have “introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances.”
The decriminalization of marijuana has been a big issue that has been supported by Schumer for quite some time. The New York senator actually proposed a bill that is similar in nature, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, back in 2019. It’s been one of Schumer’s top issues to tackle for the last several years.
Much of this likely has to do with a push for reform concerning the criminal justice system in the United States, which is an issue that has been important for a lot of Democrats and Republicans.
Along with decriminalizing pot, the Act would then expunge current federal cannabis-related records, creating funding for law enforcement departments to fight against illegal cannabis cultivation.
“If passed, the Act would represent yet another win for states’ rights advocates. In June, the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, leaving the decision to prohibit or allow abortions to state legislatures and courts,” TheBlaze reported.
This is a very good point. The federal government really has no jurisdiction to be creating laws to control substances like marijuana. It’s something that should absolutely be left up to the states.
Here’s a bit more information from TheBlaze report:
Polling has consistently shown that most Americans support some form of marijuana legalization. Last year, Pew Research Center found that “an overwhelming share of U.S. adults (91%) say either that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use (60%) or that it should be legal for medical use only (31%). Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) say marijuana should not be legal for use by adults.”
However, the bill is not expected to pass this year. Politico reports that a number of Democratic senators are against legalization or are undecided, including Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.). Schumer would need every Democratic senator, plus ten Republicans, for the bill to pass. And even if the bill were to pass, President Biden continues to state that he does not support federal legalization.
Personally, I feel that if we’re going to make laws against the use or possession of marijuana, that must be decided by state and local governments. We have to be consistent in our fight against the federal government constantly stepping over the boundaries of our Constitution.