In a landmark decision that some still see as a long-shot, Democratic senators have released a draft of a bill that would decriminalize cannabis nationwide.
In what they call an effort to end the unfair targeting and treatment of communities of color, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) unveiled the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act on July 14.
The discussion draft is not yet a bill. It’s simply a tool to get the conversation moving, and Congress is seeking public input on the draft through September. If it’s made into law, though, it would remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances, empower states to implement their own cannabis laws, and seek to end the war on drugs by ensuring Americans cannot be arrested or barred from public housing or financial aid for using cannabis where it’s legal, according to a press release .
As of July, 2021, 18 states, Washington D.C. and a few territories have legalized recreational cannabis and 37 have legalize d some form of medical cannabis. Recognizing the overwhelming support among Americans, the legislation goes beyond merely decriminalizing the herb, which has been used for thousands of years.