Senate Democratic Leader Sponsors Far-Reaching Marijuana Descheduling Bill

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced legislation (S. 3174) , the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.

The new legislation would:

Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” and 73% support expunging the records of those previously convicted of marijuana-related offenses, according to national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll.

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  • Decriminalize Marijuana: The legislation would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level by descheduling (removing) marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act of 1970;

  • Respect States’ Rights: The legislation would maintain federal law enforcement’s authority to prevent marijuana trafficking from states that have legalized marijuana to those that have not;

  • Level The Economic Playing Field: The legislation would establish dedicated funding streams to be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for women and minority-owned marijuana businesses that would be determinant on a reasonable estimate of the total amount of revenue generated by the marijuana industry;

  • Protect Children: The legislation would maintain the Department of Treasury’s authority to regulate marijuana advertising in the same way it does tobacco advertising to ensure the marijuana businesses aren’t allowed to target children in their advertisements. The bill also allows the agency to impose penalties in the case of violations;

  • Incentivize Record Sealing and Expungement Programs: The legislation authorizes grant programs to encourage state and local governments to administer, adopt, or enhance expungement or sealing programs for marijuana possession convictions. The bill provides $100 million over five years to the DOJ to carry out this purpose.

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