US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to decriminalise cannabis at the federal level and allow states to set their own policies.
Schumer and fellow Democrat Senator Ron Wyden first proposed a bill more than a year ago, but did not release the details until this week.
Measures include expunging federal cannabis-related criminal records and establishing grant programs for small business owners looking to enter the market, particularly those from communities hit hardest by previous drug policies.
It would also establish regulation by the US Food and Drug Administration, a federal taxation plan and funding for law enforcement to fight illegal production.
The Department of Transportation would be required to research and develop a standard for cannabis-impaired driving and there would be restrictions on marketing to minors.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has arranged a hearing for next week under the title: ‘Decriminalising cannabis at the federal level: necessary steps to address past harms’.
With many Republicans and some Democrats likely to oppose it, the bill has little chance of passing the Senate, although campaigners have higher hopes for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act.
Last week, President Joe Biden told a press briefing: “I don’t think anyone should be in prison for the use of marijuana.” However, he has repeatedly stated he does not support full legalisation.