Over the past month, our friend, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat from New York, has been keeping busy, and it sounds like your voices have been heard!
While working with his congressional colleagues, Schumer has drafted a bill called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, or the CAOA.
Once you move past the mouthful that is the bill’s title, a read into this draft shows that this bill would deschedule cannabis on a federal level, expunge prior convictions, allow those with marijuana charges to petition for resentencing, return a state’s authority to set their own marijuana policies, and completely remove collateral consequences for individuals for people who have been criminalized over the plant.
This bill would also impose a federal tax on marijuana and marijuana products, making it easier and more stream-lined for sales across the country.
That being said, what would this bill do in simple English terms, you might ask?
The federal government would stop trying to control a state’s laws and mandates, and will let the states decide, individually, what rules they want for their citizens in regards to marijuana sales.
If someone is in federal lock-up for marijuana-related crimes, they can petition for a resentencing to have their sentence diminished or even thrown out, depending on the infraction and the severity of the infraction.
The bill also would apply a federal tax to the green in order to ensure states are taxing the same, regardless of location, and plans to use a portion of the tax revenue to provide grant programs to people and communities who want to participate in marijuana programs but have been affected by local prohibition laws.
Schumer states that he has received support and come to an agreement with other key senators stating that lawmakers would take a step back from cannabis banking legislation, and would, instead, heavily lobby President Biden on legalization reform first.
Schumer does not believe cannabis should be a big company project and that corporate giants should stay out of the way in favor of local communities.
Passing this bill and making these changes would have a ripple effect on communities across the nation.
Instead of Nabisco coming in and creating a monopoly on over-priced, sub-standard cannabis cookies, your friend, John, from down the street can apply for a federal grant and open his own marijuana dispensary and keep the citizens’ money in the local community.
This means the crime rates would be projected to decrease, local communities would have a new opportunity to generate income, and the big corporations would not be able to come in and scoop up all the profit from the local community after the locals are the ones who suffered from the restrictions to begin with.
We don’t want Uncle Sam to tell us when we can have a cookie, and we don’t want Uncle Sam and his friends to be the only ones allowed to give us cookies.
We want to make and sell our own cookies after being on a long diet, and then use that money to make better lives for our families.
What could have been a very difficult line to draw has become a much more community-friendly proposal, and we applaud those lawmakers who are putting the decisions and power back into the hands of the states and their local neighborhoods.