Federal legalisation of recreational cannabis in the US is making progress after Democrat leaders in the Senate formally solicited feedback from colleagues on the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act this week.
Drafted for discussion by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden last year, the bill would remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge non-violent, cannabis-related crimes from people’s records.
Tax revenue raised from cannabis sales would be reinvested into communities most affected by the war on drugs, funding job training, rehabilitation services, legal aid, literacy initiatives, youth programs, and health education.
In a letter to colleagues, the Senators wrote: “Hundreds of millions of Americans live in states that have legalised cannabis in one form or another while it remains illegal at the federal level.
“This discrepancy is confusing and uncertain and raises important questions about criminal justice reform, economic development, small business growth, and public health and safety.
“This bill is about righting the wrongs of the past and ensuring that the federal government matches the progress being made in states across the country.”
Schumer told a press conference last week that he intended to introduce the bill in the “coming months” and make it a legislative priority for the chamber.
“As majority leader, I can set priorities,” he said. “It’s a priority.”
However, it remains uncertain how President Joe Biden would respond to the legislation, having previously indicated laws on recreational use should be left to individual states.