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GOP Lawmakers Officially File Cannabis Legalization Bill Joining Dems In Push To Regulate And Tax Weed

When news of the GOP-led legalization draft was initially reported, it seemed clear that a republican effort would be essential for any real legal movement to proceed.

By Maureen Meehan

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) is officially laying out her cannabis legalization plan, the States Reform Act, co-sponsored by at least a half-dozen Republicans, which will essentially legalize cannabis on a federal level “in a manner consistent with the right of states to determine what level of cannabis reform or legalization each state wants to regulate, or not.”

Highlights of the bill:

  • Federally decriminalizes cannabis and fully defers to state powers over prohibition and commercial regulation
  • Regulates cannabis products like alcohol products
  • Institutes a 3% federal excise tax on those products to fund law enforcement and small business programs.
  • Ensures the continued existence of state medical cannabis programs and patient access while allowing for new medical research and products to be developed
  • Protects our veterans by ensuring they will not be discriminated against in federal hiring for cannabis use or lose their VA healthcare for following their doctor’s advice to use medical cannabis
  • Protects children and young adults under 21 from cannabis products and advertising nationwide
  • Protects medical cannabis for the following uses: arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, sickle cell, HIV/AIDS, PTSD and other medical uses per a state’s specific cannabis regulations.
marijuana legalization
Photo by Moussa81/Getty Images

Taxes: An Issue in the Democratic Cannabis Legalization Bill

By comparison, the proposed legislation to legalize cannabis from democratic senators Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker and Ron Wyden would carry an excise tax of 25.5%, viewed as unreasonably high, especially for small businesses.

Response

Weldon Angelos is the co-coordinator of Cannabis Freedom Alliance(CFA). He worked with Mace’s team in crafting this legislation. In conversation with Benzinga, he said “The States Reform Act represents exciting movement towards compromise on the cannabis criminal justice issue and progress-building on the First Step Act. Representative Mace is bringing constructive solutions that promise to bring more Republicans to the table to end an unjust root cause of mass incarceration.”

RELATED: GOP Lawmakers Present Cannabis Legalization Bill — Will This Move The Nation Closer To Federal Reform?

When news of the GOP-led legalization draft was initially reported, it seemed clear that a republican effort would be essential for any real legal movement to proceed.

“If legalization efforts are approved in both houses, we don’t need President Biden’s signature,” said Angelos, pointing to the obvious prohibitionist tendencies of the President. “This could be it.”

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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