Late last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a historic bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and expunge nonviolent, cannabis-related convictions. Although the legislation was applauded by drug reform activists, it was almost certainly doomed in the then Republican-controlled Senate, with GOP leaders dubbing cannabis legalization a superficial distraction from COVID relief. However, now that the Democrats control both the Senate and the House, cannabis legalization may be a reality.
In a recent interview with former NBA player Al Harrington who owns cannabis company Viola Brands, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer discussed his support for ending federal marijuana prohibition. Lawmakers are currently in the process of merging various cannabis legalization bills, including the marijuana rescheduling bill he filed in 2018, he says. The New York Democrat, who has historically embraced punitive drug policies, has been a proponent of cannabis legalization in recent years, stating in 2019 that the time to decriminalize marijuana has come.
The legislation filed by Schumer, along with the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, would reschedule marijuana at the federal level, reinvest tax revenue into communities that were disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, and expunge prior cannabis-related offenses from offenders’ records. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act, which was passed by the House last year but failed to advance under the Republican-controlled Senate, may also be incorporated by lawmakers, although that hasn’t been confirmed.
For Schumer, who is reportedly working with both Democratic senators and some Republicans, the goal of legalizing cannabis is social equity. The new federal cannabis legalization bill he is putting together would allow states to “do whatever they’d like” and direct cannabis tax revenues to minority communities that felt most of the brunt of the drug war. On top of social justice, the funds will also be used to ensure large corporations don’t take over the industry.
Schumer also wants to keep the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) from imposing excess regulations on existing marijuana businesses once legalization is implemented. To help detect and prevent impaired driving, he would allocate funds to develop a cannabis breathalyzer. Schumer, who calls himself a fighter for racial justice, says the country’s marijuana laws are a big example of racial injustice and changing them makes sense. His new federal decriminalization bill will champion racial justice, individual freedom and states’ rights.
St. Louis-based investment banking firm Stifel says the Democrats controlling the House, Senate and White House could “foreshadow the most important catalyst in the history of the U.S. cannabis industry.”
In the states where enabling laws have been enacted, the cannabis industry has created an opportunity for entrepreneurs and entities to sprout. The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER) is one such company. Its two major brands, A88 Infused and Alkaline88, are well known for the flavored water and alkaline water produced by this firm. A recent addition of CBD-infused products has expanded the reach of the company within the market.
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CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.
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