Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Oreg.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) are unveiling a discussion draft of their legalization to end the federal prohibition of marijuana.
The proposal— known as the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act — wants to remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances, allowing individual states to make their own decisions on cannabis. Many states have actually already moved to legalize medical or recreational use of cannabis, but it still remains illegal under federal law.
The discussion draft reads: "By ending the failed federal prohibition of cannabis, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act 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."
"State-compliant cannabis businesses will finally be treated like other businesses and allowed access to essential financial services, like bank accounts and loans. Medical research will no longer be stifled," it continued.
The proposal also establishes that the minimum age to purchase cannabis will be twenty-one years old and limits retail sales to no more than ten ounces of cannabis. Federal agencies should also research the impacts of cannabis use, legalization, and cannabis-impaired driving, researching an impairment standard for driving under the influence of cannabis.
The democrats have been working on legalization for months.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance shortly after they announced their plan to work on the proposal, Sen. Wyden said Congress should "finally recognize that the war on drugs has failed."
The plan would eventually keep people from being denied benefits such as housing or federal financial aid because of their use of cannabis, or even the possession of the drug.
New grant programs will be created to fund nonprofits that will help those affected by the 'War on Drugs.' It will make loans available to small businesses in the cannabis industry and help states and localities implement cannabis licensing programs.
There would also be an "excise tax" on cannabis, just as there is with alcohol and tobacco. It would rate at ten percent for the year it's enacted and the full year after. It would rise each year until it hits twenty-five percent. Starting in the 5th year, the Treasury Secretary would set a rate based on quantity sold or milligrams of THC.
"When you can legalize something like this — where millions of millions of Americans have already voted that way — that can be a real plus for the economy. Certainly, it can be a real plus for small businesses, for communities of color," said Wyden in an interview with Yahoo Finance in February.
President Joe Biden had backed decriminalization of marijuana on the campaign trail, but the White House has not backed legalization efforts as of yet.