Democrat Schumer introduced a bill to decriminalize the federal consumption of marijuana. Marijuana is already legal in 18 states. Schumer is the majority leader for those who don’t know him. This generates that for the first time, a majority leader is proposing this in the United States.
“We are here to introduce a draft of a bill to end the federal prohibition on cannabis. This is monumental because we are finally taking steps in the Senate to correct the damage done by the war on drugs.” Schumer said at a press conference.
Schumer framed the decriminalization of marijuana as a step toward reforming the U.S. criminal justice system, which punishes marijuana possession with very high penalties. Something that has disproportionately affected Hispanic and African-American minorities for decades.
About The Bill
Precisely, the bill, dubbed the Cannabis Opportunity and Stewardship Act, would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and determine which rules the industry. Which has been facing uncertainty for years, should adhere to.
The proposal also seeks to compensate communities of color and more impoverished communities for the harm caused by the current drug policy.
For example, the bill would remove all arrests and convictions related to cannabis possession and use from federal records. Saying they were non-violent.
In many states, people with criminal records can’t vote. In addition, it is often more difficult for them to get a job or apply for credit because they have a criminal record.
So, the hope is that the bill will end a “painful reality” that has taken a toll on generations of Americans, said Senator Cory Booker. Who joined Schumer and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden at the press conference.
Booker called the current prohibition of cannabis use and marketing “hypocritical.” “Lives are being destroyed every day, and the hypocrisy is that there are people here on Capitol Hill who are running for the Senate or running for president who admit to using marijuana, while children, veterans, African-Americans, and Hispanics continue to carry a stain for the things that others have done,” Booker said, visibly outraged.
The legislation is unlikely to prosper because Senate Republicans oppose the decriminalization of marijuana, and Democrats need their support to pass the bill.
U.S. President Joe Biden has not yet expressed an opinion on the bill. Still, in April, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said he supported decriminalizing marijuana use at the federal level.
Marijuana History In United States
For thousands of years, people cultivate the Cannabis sativa plant all over the world. Marijuana is used for medicine for several ailments and can produce euphoric highs. But the history of humanity’s relationship with marijuana is complex.
Of course, it’s impossible to know who smoked that first puff. But archaeological evidence suggests that marijuana has been used by people worldwide for thousands of years.
Native to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, marijuana is believed to be one of the earliest plants cultivated by humans, possibly beginning in the pre-Neolithic period. It is likely that humans helped marijuana spread across continents, from Africa, Europe, and eventually to the Americas, and that people who migrated brought the plant with them in passing.
Industrial hemp production in the United States began in the 17th century. People used the plant to make rope, sails, and other types of cloth. In the late 19th century, hemp became popular for use in various medicinal products. Hashish also began to become popular during the 19th century.
The 20th century saw significant changes for cannabis in the United States. In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed, requiring all cannabis products to be labeled for sale without a prescription.
Mexican immigrants to the United States first introduced the recreational use of marijuana. Soon prejudice set in, and anti-drug advocates attributed the so-called “marijuana menace” to such immigrants.
From the mid-20th century onward, the pro-and anti-marijuana movements grew. Today, several of them already authorize their consumption. Therefore, it will be a big step for those in favor of marijuana if the democrats win this “fight.”
On November 6, 2012, Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana with the approval of Colorado’s Amendment 64. The law allows for the personal recreational use of marijuana for persons 21 years of age and older. Commercial cultivation, sale, and manufacture of recreational marijuana use were also legalized.
Liberalize And Legalize
While necessary steps are being taken towards the full legalization of marijuana, as has already been achieved in countries such as Canada, the United States still has a long way to go.
The federal government currently considers marijuana a schedule 1 drug, which makes it illegal. On the other hand, industrial hemp is legal as long as THC concentrations remain below 0.3%. States like California or Colorado have fully legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes, while other states have legalized only medical cannabis.
Legislation aimed at undoing the severe damage caused by the war on drugs is slowly gaining ground. The “MORE Act” of 2019 seeks to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. It also contains provisions for restorative justice and to help affected communities recover from decades of injustice.
In addition, it includes social equity programs, including a community reinvestment fund, which provides small loans to socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own cannabis businesses.
The bill would also eliminate marijuana-related misdemeanors and shorten the sentences of convicted felons currently serving time for marijuana-related offenses.
A bipartisan bill was presented. Known as the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment through State Trust (STATES) Act,” this bill would allow states to enact and enforce their marijuana laws. It also aims to exempt individuals and businesses from federal law enforcement to comply with local laws. While better than nothing, many feel that the STATES Act does not do enough to right historical wrongs.