Nearly two-thirds of U.S citizens, most of who do not smoke weed advocate for marijuana decriminalization. And now all eyes stay glued to one man; Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, relative to Amy Schumer (yes, the comedian) and the guy who’s also eyeing the majority leader seat in the oncoming midterm elections. He said it is high time Americans get what they’ve for so long desired— full legalization.
A week ago, Senator Schumer from New York launched a new bill, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to legalize cannabis at federal levels and give states the power to find ways to regulate its use. And this legislation means a lot to the decriminalization movement because Chuck Schumer is so far the highest-ranking voted official ever to propose federal legalization of cannabis.
Schumer said, it is now time to legalize and allow Americans— more so women and micro-business owners, as well as those serving jail terms for simple possession of weed they intended to use for personal recreation—the chance to contribute to today’s economy. According to the Senate minority leader, decriminalization is the “simply right thing to do,” and he is optimistic his approach will earn the bill great bipartisan support in Congress as well as countrywide.
Schumer’s legislation focuses on leveling the playing field for communities that have been affected by current laws on cannabis. If it passes, Grant programs will be launched to offer financial incentives to state governments that help those convicted for petty marijuana offenses to wipe out their records. The bill also plans to provide extra funding to assist to cannabis startups. Plus, women entrepreneurs will get marijuana dispensary funding to explore the cannabis industry.
What’s more, the bill permits all states that have legalized (or are planning to decriminalize) marijuana to go ahead without the risks of prosecution at federal levels. But smuggling from legal to illegal states will remain a federal crime. Schumer’s bill also permits the Department of Treasury to lay down national regulations on cannabis advertising to prevent marketing of cannabis products to children. Another worth mentioning section of the bill is the part that plans to dedicate a whopping $500 million for medical research on marijuana.
Co-sponsoring the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act are Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). It’s no surprise Sanders is here because he began advocating for decriminalization in the 2016 presidential campaign. It seems like several Senate Democrats have been meeting to discuss the issue for a long time now.
Are we getting nearer to legalization? It should be remembered that just last month, senators Warren (D-Massachusets) and Gardner (R-Colorado) proposed similar bills on marijuana decriminalization.
The bottom line
We are talking nothing less than $132 billion in tax revenue if the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act passes and full legalization becomes effective. Plus over a million new job opportunities across the United States in the coming ten years, as anticipated by the most recent data.
Author Bio: As an account executive, Michael Hollis has funded millions by using alternative funding solutions. His experience and extensive knowledge of the industry has made him a marijuana dispensary funding expert at First American Merchant.