U.S Senator Tammy Duckworth joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, and Tim Kaine by introducing new legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act would allow states to continue to decide how they will treat marijuana possession by removing marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act.
The Federal Government will still have the ability to prevent trafficking from states where marijuana is legal to states where it is not. The bill also makes new investments in public health and safety and preserves the federal government’s ability to regulate marijuana advertising – just as it does tobacco - so that advertisers cannot target children.
“Far too many Americans are currently incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses and they are disproportionally people of color, despite the fact that African Americans and Caucasians use marijuana at the same rates,” said Senator Duckworth.
The Senators’ legislation is designed to help communities that have been disproportionally affected by our current marijuana laws. It would authorize grants to help individuals seal or remove marijuana possession conviction records, and it creates a new funding stream to make it easier for women- and minority-owned businesses to enter the marijuana industry. The bill would also make new investments in research to better understand the effect of THC on both driving and public health - particularly in adolescents - and to determine the effectiveness of medical marijuana treatments.
“The time to decriminalize marijuana is now,” said Senator Schumer. “The new Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is about giving states the freedom to be the laboratories that they should be and giving Americans the opportunity to succeed in today’s economy.”