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Democrats Draft Plan To End Federal Marijuana Ban

By Jacquelynn Entwistle| Published July, 2021


...60% of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized for both recreational and medical use? The majority of the public’s voice is finally being heard and considered as three top Senate Democrats have come together to draft a plan to end the federal ban on marijuana. They also have a plan to implement a series of programs to help communities that have been harmed by the war on drugs (historically, communities of color).

Majority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey announced the reforms earlier this week. “This is monumental because at long last we are taking steps in the Senate to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs,” Schumer said. 

The draft proposal states the reforms "will ensure that Americans – especially Black and Brown Americans – no longer have to fear arrest or be barred from public housing or federal financial aid for higher education for using cannabis in states where it's legal."

The reforms in consideration will allow states to write their own cannabis laws and eliminate marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances. Regulatory jurisdiction will shift from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"Cannabis prohibition, a key pillar of the failed War on Drugs, has caused substantial harm to our communities and small businesses, and especially for communities of color," Wyden said. "It's as simple as this: Senators Booker, Schumer and I want to bring common sense to the federal government, end prohibition and restore the lives of those hurt most and set them up for opportunity." 

There are currently 18 states that have legalized recreational marijuana, in addition to the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 37 states have legalized medical marijuana, in addition to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"While red and blue states across the country continue to legalize marijuana, the federal government continues to lag woefully behind," Booker said in a statement. "It is time for Congress to end the federal marijuana prohibition and reinvest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs."

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