The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act was presented on July 14, 2021, by Senators Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden to legalize and regulate cannabis on a federal level. When and if this bill ever reaches the Senate floor, it is certain to spark controversy and heated debate among lawmakers.
The deadline for public comment, September 1, 2021, has recently passed, and the drafters of the bill were inundated with input from special interest groups, including the U.S. Cannabis Council, the Marijuana Policy Project, a number of prominent universities and legal scholars, and the DC Fiscal Policy Institute.
Although not compulsory, it is expected that the drafters of the bill will make revisions based on some of the received comments, with the filing of the bill to follow. After filing, the bill will be submitted to the committee for further amendment and discussion.
Recent polls indicate that sixty percent of Americans support the legalization of cannabis, but despite the idealistic promises of a representative government, this support does not necessarily translate into affirmative Senate votes. The legislation requires the approval of every Democrat and at least ten Republicans.
There are optimists who believe this is a long-overdue measure (reasonably) requiring bipartisan support. Many Washington insiders are skeptical that the bill will gain sufficient support. At the risk of appearing naive, I am one of these optimists.
A decade ago, this bill would not have left the desk of a hopeful pro-cannabis senator, but now the Senate Majority Leader is introducing the federal legalization of cannabis with the support of dozens of other legislators. Whether or whether this particular bill becomes law, the notion of federally legalizing cannabis is no longer as far-fetched as it once was.
At Drafted, The Measure Intends To Do The following:
- Remove cannabis and THC from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
- The Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority over cannabis should be transferred to the Food and Drug Administration, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
- Permit the transfer of cannabis products through interstate commerce channels, regardless of whether the routes are based in legal or illegal states.
- Impose a 10 percent excise tax on the sale of produced marijuana for the first year, followed by annual increments of up to 25 percent over the next three years. (Removal price is the price at which a cultivator sells a crop to a third party.)
Read More: Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act
- Establish a trust fund and transfer $10 million or 10 percent of the cannabis excise tax collected annually, whichever is greater. The Small Business Administration will administer the fund, which will be used to provide loans to women and historically socially and economically disadvantaged individuals for their cannabis businesses.
- Establish and conduct a study on the effects of marijuana-impaired driving.
- Establish and conduct a study on the effects of cannabis use on the human brain and the medical utility of cannabis.
- Adopt national advertising restrictions to prevent marketing to minors and adolescents.
- Provide funds to states for expungement proceedings involving marijuana offenders convicted at the state level.
The bill does not mandate that states legalize marijuana. It will stay unlawful in any state where it is now illegal unless authorized through the legislative process of that state.