Law regulation

Law regulation

What in The New Republican Cannabis Legalization Bill?

What in The New Republican Cannabis Legalization Bill?

November 30, 2021

What's been the common thread thus far in proposed legislation to legalize cannabis? It's all come from Democratic party politicians.

Likely because cannabis legalization is one the most "leftist" socio-political causes out there. NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) has, after all, been going strong since its foundation in 1970.

But the times, as they say, are a-changin'… In the form of the latest cannabis legalization bill, the States Reform Act. Legislation that happens to be authored by South Carolina Rep Nancy Mace – a Republican!

Is Mace's move toward cannabis legalization driven by the culture finally catching up with cannabis? Are right-wing morality standards loosening? Have right-leaning folks woken up to the fact that cannabis is not physically addictive and far less dangerous than even alcohol?

Maybe. But what's more likely is conservative politicians in Washington have taken note of cannabis's financial potential. Already a massive business in states that have legalized recreational and medical cannabis, the profits keep piling up.

And with obvious money to be made in this burgeoning new market, broader corporate interests are keen to cash in. All of which means the party of Big Business can no longer play the morality card and turn a blind eye to cannabis legalization.

A fact that brings us this first Republican-sponsored cannabis legalization bill.

So, what is this conservative-backed bill all about? The team here at takes a closer look at the key tenets behind the States Reform Act…

Federal Decriminalization of Cannabis

The new bill's primary purpose is to remove cannabis from the federal list of Schedule I Controlled Substances and leave cannabis regulation up to individual states.

In other words, similar to alcohol, cannabis would no longer be illegal at the federal level. And individual states would be in charge of governing cannabis rules and regulations within their borders.

Legal Age of Cannabis Consumption

The bill doesn't mandate a minimum age for cannabis consumption. But it does include several incentives for setting 21 as the minimum age for use and possession. It also contains provisions for users under 21 to seek waivers for medical purposes.

Impact on Past "Cannabis Crimes"

Individuals jailed on federal charges for non-violent, cannabis-only crimes would be released have their conviction records expunged. But this applies ONLY to offenses charged at the federal level. Individual states would be required to establish their own means to address past cannabis crimes.

Proposed Cannabis Sale Tax Rate

The States Reform Act levies a 3% federal excise tax. A notable difference compared to recently proposed Democratic bills, which put the rate between 10% and 25%.

Cannabis Tax Revenue Spending

The majority of cannabis tax revenue is slated for law enforcement funding. A portion is earmarked for SBA (Small Business Administration) support. And the rest goes to rehabilitation and prevention programs.

Here's a more detailed breakdown…

  • 40% to federal law enforcement grant programs
  • 30% to support Small Business Administration funds for newly licensed small businesses
  • 10% to military veterans' mental health programs
  • 5% to state opioid epidemic response programs
  • 5% to underage cannabis use prevention programs

Interstate Commerce

The bill specifically calls for developing and implementing a "track-and-trace system for cannabis in interstate commerce." A measure that makes cannabis sales between states far easier.

Where the States Reform Act Falls Short…

Critics point toward two major facets seriously lacking in the bill.

First, there's no specific support for small businesses. The bill simply divides up regulation between the US Department of Agriculture (growing oversight), the FDA (medical access oversight), ATF (legal cannabis products oversight), and the Treasury Department's Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (interstate commerce oversight).

The rest is left up to the states. And going by past experience, this is a recipe for allowing big business to totally dominate the cannabis trade.

Secondly, there are absolutely zero social equity measures. The closest the bill comes is a rule stating that individuals with pending state cannabis "charges or cases and convictions awaiting sentencing" should have all relevant charges dismissed within 14 days of enactment of the Act.

An unfortunate omission, considering the hugely detrimental impact of cannabis law enforcement on those in lower-income and minority communities. The poorest and most vulnerable people have been punished the hardest by regressive cannabis laws. And this bill, which aims to wipe away these laws, fails to make any gesture of restation.

Will The Bill Pass?

As with all previous cannabis legalization bills, it's tough to say. But what's most encouraging here is the party of "say no to drugs" sponsored the legislation. A fact that demonstrates the legalization trend is continuing in the right direction.

Copyright © by Cannawayz. Cannawayz platform helps you to find a dispensary or delivery nearby.

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