By Roland Sebestyén
The Democrats are asking for final input from colleagues before they introduce their cannabis bill to the Senate. The bill could legalise the possession and use of the substance as early as this Spring.
It seems as though, after more than a year into Joe Biden’s presidency, things are speeding up and a new cannabis bill could very well be introduced in the foreseeable future – more precisely, within the next few months!
Cannabis campaigners and advocates should be excited as the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his allies have sent a letter to senators inviting them into the drafting process, The Hill reports.
In the letter, they wrote: “In order to appropriately address such a nuanced issue, we respectfully request the input, advice and guidance of Chairs and Ranking Members of relevant committees as well as senators who have dealt with the challenges and realities of legalization in their own states.
“We would deeply appreciate your willingness to share your expertise on the intersections between your committees’ jurisdictions, your states’ experiences, and comprehensive cannabis reform and invite you to join the process of perfecting this legislation.
“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you in the weeks ahead.”
Recent reports claim that Mr Schumer and the Democrats’ bill would lift the federal prohibition on cannabis and allow state-compliant cannabis businesses to have access to financial services such as bank accounts and loans.
The US would, essentially, legalise cannabis on a federal level and allow businesses in the industry to thrive.
The support for a liberated market and the full legalisation of cannabis is at a record high – something that the struggling Democrats cannot ignore further.
While Joe Biden appears to remain stubbornly against cannabis use – no wonder the Americans don’t trust him on the matter – and he has yet to fulfil his election promise on decriminalising cannabis, his senators may push through the bill for him in April.
However, the Democrats will need support from Republicans in the Senate to succeed – and that could be an issue.
Either way, Mr Schumer and other sponsors of the bill are open to discussions: “As more and more states move to legalise cannabis for both adult and medical use, the federal government has an important role to play.
“Hundreds of millions of Americans live in states that have legalised cannabis in some form while it remains illegal at the federal level.
“This discrepancy leads to confusion and uncertainty and raises significant questions around criminal justice reform, economic development and small business growth, and public health and safety, all of which we believe require some type of federal answer.”
The mood is shifting in America, as even many Republicans now support a change in the law surrounding cannabis use. A few weeks ago, for example, Amazon announced endorsement for Republican Senator Nancy Mace’s cannabis bill, the “States Reform Act”.
Ms Mace’s plan would legalise cannabis on the federal level in the United States by removing it from the list of federal Schedule I substances, and introduce instead a new three per cent federal tax on the substance.
The movement for federal cannabis legalisation in the US is clearly continuing to hot up – and could well soon come to a head.