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Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill Coming This Week

A long-awaited federal legalization bill will be introduced by Democrats in Congress, and it’s better than ever

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A federal Cannabis legalization bill is set to be refilled as soon as this week. The bill will include some new provisions, reports Marijuana Moment.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) plans to refile his federal cannabis legalization bill this week. The legislation comes as senators are finalizing their own bill. It will have changes from the version that passed the House last year.

The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act did not advance in the Senate under Mitch McConnell’s GOP control. With Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Democrats now in control, things are different.

The eagerly awaited Senate version of the federal legalization bill appears imminent, as well. “In state after state, in ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments, Americans are sending a clear message—they want an end to marijuana prohibition. I’m working with @SenBooker & @RonWyden on comprehensive marijuana reform legislation in the Senate,” Schumer tweeted last week.

“It’s been more than two years since Congress legalized hemp products,” Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon tweeted. “It’s past time for the FDA to get with the program and enter into the 21st century for the sake of consumers and farmers.”

New and Improved Version

One change is that Small Business Administration aid can be used to assist those targeted in the War on Drugs in any industry. This is rather than just Cannabis-related industries, as in last year’s bill. Loans, financial literacy programs and job training will help people harmed by the War on Drugs pursue business opportunities.

The new federal bill won’t include controversial language added just before last year’s House floor vote. That language would have prevented people with previous cannabis convictions from obtaining federal permits to operate marijuana businesses. That provision appeared at the last minute, and advocates strongly opposed it, reports Marijuana Moment.

There are still additional components Cannabis advocates hope to see changed as the federal bill goes through the legislative process. Activists oppose provisions including marijuana in drug testing programs for federal workers.

The MORE Act would remove Cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), therefore eliminating the federal criminal penalties associated with marijuana-related activity. Such a change would also eliminate the 280E tax penalty and finally allow banks to work with Cannabis companies.

Americans are more likely now than at any point in the past 50 years to support the legalization of marijuana. The 68% of U.S. adults who currently back the measure is not statistically different from last year’s 66%. However, it is Gallup’s highest reading ever, exceeding the 64% to 66% range seen from 2017 to 2019.