What Is the Marijuana Freedom & Opportunity Act?
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently introduced a bill called The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act. The new act will remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances. This will allow states to figure out their own individual cannabis policies without fearing interference from the federal government.
Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) all cosponsored the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act. If passed, the bill would effectively decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
The bill contains provisions that would give funding to cannabis businesses owned by women and people of color through the Small Business Administration. The following are also described in the full text of the bill:
- Funding for studies on traffic safety
- Funding for studies on impairment detection technology
- Funding for studies about the health effects of cannabis
- Restrictions for advertising that might appeal to children
- Saving $100 million over five years to help states develop faster procedures for expunging or sealing previous convictions for cannabis crimes
In an announcement, Aaron Smith, executive Director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said, “We agree with Senator Schumer that this legislation is long overdue and commend his leadership as the Senate’s top Democrat to finally modernize our nation’s marijuana policies. Removing cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act will allow states to continue to successfully regulate cannabis, undermine criminal markets, create new economic opportunities, and will pave the way to much-needed research into the therapeutic potential of cannabis. With millions of Americans already living in states that successfully regulate adult-use cannabis and support for national legalization at record levels, this legislation would finally align federal marijuana policies with mainstream voter sentiment.”
Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana and 9 states and D.C. permit the use of marijuana by adults over 21. Polls show that 64% of Americans think that marijuana should be legalized, while another poll revealed that 70% of Americans are against federal interference in state marijuana laws.
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