Jul 14, 2021
Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, collateral consequences, Congress, decriminalization, descheduling, equity, expungement, Federal, grants programs, legalization, President Biden, Quinnipiac poll, racial injustice, regulations, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Ron Wyden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, social equity, taxes, U.S. Senate
Today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a draft of their long-anticipated legislation to end federal cannabis prohibition.
In short, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act would deschedule cannabis by removing it from the list of federally controlled substances, empowering states to decide their own cannabis policies. It would also put equity at the foundation of federal reform by ensuring restorative justice to those people and communities hardest—and most unfairly—hit by cannabis prohibition through expunging prior convictions and records, allowing people to petition for resentencing, and removing collateral consequences for those who’ve been criminalized. In addition, the bill would implement a framework for responsible regulations and taxes, with some of the tax revenue dedicated to grants programs intended to help equity applicants and those most impacted by the war on cannabis. Read a summary here.
Please ask your members of Congress to support the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act!
Now that Democrats have the majority in both chambers, there’s a sense of hope among advocates that this kind of reform is attainable in this Congress. We’ll need to secure 60 votes in the Senate, which is a major undertaking, but certainly possible, representing a unique opportunity for politicians to work across the aisle and enact a commonsense policy that has broad popular support. And, although President Biden’s support for legalization has been lukewarm, Sen. Booker insists Biden’s stance in favor of “decriminalization” will be enough to advance the legislation.
But with 19 legal states, including over 43% of the U.S. population, and public support for support for legalization swelling to 69% in a recent Quinnipiac poll, something’s got to give. It’s hard to imagine that President Biden would veto a bipartisan cannabis reform bill should one land on his desk, especially given the role that cannabis prohibition plays in sustaining racial injustice in the U.S.
MPP has been advocating for ending prohibition for over 25 years, and we’ll continue to work alongside elected leaders and advocates in support of this comprehensive reform measure. Please urge your federal lawmakers to support this legislation. Then, share the action with your friends, family, and social networks. We’ll continue to keep you informed of the bill’s progress and further opportunities to take action.