Progress Report: Legalization of Cannabis

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has made one thing very clear: he is a supporter of weeds. In a fundraising email to his followers in March 2021, it was very transparent.

“Voters in four more states voted in favor of legalizing the recreational use of adult marijuana, and this shows once again that the time has come to work to undo the wrongdoing for wrong priorities, especially in black and brown communities, “he wrote. “It’s time to decriminalize marijuana nationwide.”

These are bold but unsurprising words from the senator who has been expressing his views on cannabis legislation for years. Let’s see how far the United States is from legalization.

The new path to legalization

The good news for cannabis patients and enthusiasts is that Schumer’s words are backed by action.

In the spring, Schumer began working with Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) to publish a bill to end federal marijuana. ban.

As it is written, Schumer has stated that the bill will be introduced soon, but has not indicated to what extent it will be.

It is also unclear at this time what this bill will specifically involve; however, it is speculated that it will establish decriminalization before enacting full legalization.

You are expected to remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances and promote social equity.

Schumer said the bill will specifically seek to restrict the ability of large alcohol and tobacco companies to outperform the industry and instead prioritize small businesses, especially those owned by people in the communities hardest hit by the ban.

In the House, President of the Judiciary Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said he plans to reintroduce his legalization bill, the Marijuana Opportunities, Reinvestment and Disposal Act (MORE), which was passed by the House. last year, but did not advance the GOP-controlled law. Senate.

With Democrats in control of both houses as well as the White House, there is a sense of optimism that a comprehensive reform is possible.

Step by step, state by state

The 2020 election had four victories over statewide marijuana legalization. Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Montana garnered enough votes to legalize recreational cannabis in their respective states, bringing the grand total of recreational legal states to fifteen.

In addition, during the 2020 election, Mississippi voters passed a statute to legalize medical marijuana, an important step for conservative states. Despite this,
in May 2021, the effort took a step back when the state’s highest court overturned the referendum, citing the fact that it did not comply with a provision of the state constitution that required 20% of signatures they came from each of the five congressional districts (an impossible fact since Mississippi went from five to four districts after the year 2000 and has not been able to update the language in its Constitution). It is believed to be the first time a medical marijuana initiative has been canceled after residents approved it at the polls. It remains to be seen whether the issue will return to the polls in 2022.

Minnesota and Nebraska are also expected to turn the issue over to voters in 2022 after their legalization plans fail to reach their respective legislatures. To end on a positive note, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a medical marijuana legalization bill in May 2021, which marked another important step for conservative states.

Giving a boost to hemp

Hemp was legalized under the Agriculture Act 2018, but the Food and Drug Administration has not yet completed the process to allow the use of derivatives such as CBD in consumables such as food, beverages and dietary supplements. A new Senate bill hopes to change that.

Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) (the same senator who works with Schumer on decriminalizing cannabis), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) have introduced the Hemp Access and Security Act of the consumer, which would exempt “hemp, cannabidiol derived from hemp or any substance containing any other ingredient in hemp” from certain restrictions which have blocked the appearance of legal consumable hemp products.

The bill also stipulates that officials may set labeling and packaging requirements for hemp-derived products.

In a press release, Wyden explained, “CBD products are used and produced legally throughout the country. However, because the FDA has not been able to update its regulations, consumers and producers remain in a state of disrepair. gray regulatory zone … It’s been a long time since the FDA approached the program, for the good of American consumers and farmers. ” As of this writing, the bill has not yet been passed. However, if it does, it will give relief to farmers, processors, and hemp traders across the U.S. ϖ





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