GOP congressmen submit marijuana legalization bill, but don’t get too excited

Although Republicans are expected to challenge cannabis reform on Capitol Hill this year, some GOP congressmen in the House of Representatives have tabled bill aimed at legalizing marijuana nationwide.

Before you get too excited, it isn’t the overhyped comprehensive cannabis reform move that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised “soon”. This is a seemingly competitive move aimed at helping military veterinarians improve research and make weeds a legitimate part of the national trade.

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

US Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Don Young (R-AK), both members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus (CCC), recently presented the Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses and Healthcare Professionals. The law aims to end the federal marijuana ban, but emphasizes medical marijuana research, veteran access, and opening up the interstate cannabis trade when permitted. It would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and allow it to be taxed and regulated like other legal drugs. The Food and Drug Administration and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau would oversee the industry. Marijuana would basically be treated like beer and cigarettes.

RELATED: We’ll See If The Senate Filibuster Will Ruin National Cannabis Reform

The CCC legislature says it is time.

This cannabis legislation answers the American people’s call for change and addresses our states’ need for clarity by creating an effective federal cannabis regulatory framework that helps veterans, supports small businesses and their workers, enables critical research, and the opioid crisis concerns. While respecting the right of states to make their own decisions about cannabis policy that is best for their constituents. ” Joyce said in a statement. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to bring this law into effect so we can carry out sensible and meaningful cannabis reform that improves lives and livelihoods.”

Why 2021 should prove to be the year of federal cannabis legalizationPhoto by gradyreese / Getty Images

With the latest Pew poll showing 91% of the American population in favor of full legalization, cannabis advocates are hoping that Congress is finally serious about overhauling pot policy. “With an overwhelming majority of Americans in support of the end of the cannabis ban, it is clear that our country has a mandate to create a legal industry that supports both medicinal and adult use.” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.

RELATED: Somebody Should Let The Federal Government Know That Americans Want Legal Marijuana

Contrary to the bill that Schumer and the crew promised, the CCC’s move is not about removing previous convictions and repairing damage caused by the drug war. This is something that stakeholders hope will be reconsidered as the bill finds its way through the legislative process.

“MPP is confident that subsequent negotiations and drafts of this bill will contain solid social justice and equity provisions to address the devastation caused by the ban and failed war on drugs.” Hawkins said. “Federal legalization needs to be designed and regulated to ensure social and economic justice for the millions of people who face discrimination and unequal enforcement. By engaging the most harmed, we can build an equitable, well-regulated and inclusive cannabis industry from the ground up.

Congress examines draft law to research the legalization of marijuanaPhoto by Wildpixel / Getty Images

The Common Sense Cannabis Reform Bill for Veterans, Small Businesses, and Healthcare Professionals has a good chance of passing the House of Representatives. Although by a narrow margin, the Democrats still control the lower chamber and last month passed a measure related to cannabis (SAFE Banking Act). The problem is that the bill will face resistance if it reaches the Senate. Majority Leader Schumer seems more focused on the concept of cannabis reform he has up his sleeve and may not want to complicate things by putting a competing proposal on the agenda.

RELATED: Marijuana is bipartisan, but that doesn’t mean federal legalization is a safe bet

Although the Senate is also dominated by democratic control, it is even leaner than in the House of Representatives. It’s a 50:50 breakup with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaker. This makes it extremely difficult to pass any cannabis reform measure of any kind. Primarily because of the filibuster – an old Senate rule that requires a majority of 60 votes on controversial issues.

It remains to be seen how democratic lawmakers plan to deal with the cannabis debate in 2021. But rest assured, whether it’s the common sense cannabis reform for veterans, small businesses, and healthcare professionals, or whatever Schumer suggests, the battle won’t be easy.

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