Dem Floats Bill to Legalize Marijuana

  • Dem Floats Bill to Legalize Marijuana

Dem Floats Bill to Legalize Marijuana

A USA senator from OR has introduced legislation that would allow states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal oversight.

While the bills introduced may not become law, Wyden is confident that marijuana will become legal soon.

Justin Strekal, political director of the pro-legalization group NORML, said in a statement that the proposal is another sign of the "growing public support for ending our failed war on cannabis consumers". "Too many lives have been wasted, and too many economic opportunities have been missed", Wyden said.

It remains unclear if Wyden's bill would have a chance at clearing the Republican-controlled Senate.

Marijuana reform received a fresh push Friday from Sen. The chamber has set a hearing next week on a bill meant to make banking services more widely available for pot companies.

The bill is among a trio proposed by Mr. Wyden as part of "Path to Marijuana Reform" being simultaneously pursued in the House by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Oregon Democrat, repeating efforts unsuccessfully mounted by the lawmakers during the last Congress. "The House is doing its work, and with the help of Senator Wyden's leadership in the Senate, we will break through", he added. Instead, federal law would defer to state-level rules for enforcement (the proposal does preserve enforcement against trafficking marijuana into states where it is illegal).

It would further gut Drug Enforcement Agency power over marijuana, by removing federal criminal penalties and asset forfeiture rules associated with marijuana offenses. The bill would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated like alcohol, and reduce barriers for legal marijuana businesses to get access to banking.

According to the package's summary, the three bills aim to "pave the way for responsible federal regulation of the legal marijuana industry, and provide certainty for state-legal marijuana businesses which operate in almost every state in the U.S".