Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

The Senate panel met on Tuesday to consider a bill to non-criminalize cannabis at the federal level. It’s been less than a week since the bill was introduced by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and two Democratic colleagues. The bill, the Cannabis Management and Opportunity Act, was introduced on July 21 by New York Senator Schumer, Oregon Senate Finance Chairman Ron Weiden, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. ..

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, chaired by Booker, discussed the law and heard testimony from witnesses at a hearing held at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday. Under nearly 300 pages of law, marijuana is exempt from regulation under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, narcotics are listed in the most restrictive Schedule I, and states are allowed to develop their own cannabis policies. The bill also establishes national taxes on cannabis products, erases records of previous federal cannabis convictions, and allows nonviolent cannabis prisoners to demand a re-judgment.

Booker, chairman of the subcommittee and the only black senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the national cannabis ban “miserably failed” and disproportionately targeted the black and brown communities. He said it led to “unfair treatment” of the enforcement policy.according to 2020 report According to the American Civil Liberties Union, black Americans are almost four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis-related crimes than whites, despite their relatively equal pot usage.

“The cannabis law is unevenly enforced and devastates the lives of the most vulnerable people.” Booker said At the hearing on Tuesday.

Witnesses testify in favor of cannabis non-criminalization bill

Weldon Angelos, a former federal cannabis prisoner and advocate of criminal justice reform, appeared before a subcommittee to testify in favor of the bill. Angelos, who was sentenced to 55 years in federal prison for his first cannabis conviction and possession of firearms, spent 13 years in prison before being released in 2016.

“Every time we are arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and convicted, the world of those with modern scarlet letters gets a little smaller,” Angelos said of the lives of those convicted of drug crimes. Mentioned what it looks like.

Representatives of the law enforcement community also testified in favor of laws reforming national marijuana law. “There is nothing inherently violent” about cannabis, Anapolis police chief Edward Jackson told the subcommittee.

Jackson said decriminalization would help police officers focus on more serious crimes and restore community confidence in law enforcement.

“I’ve spent too much time arresting people for selling and owning cannabis,” Jackson testified.

Missouri Republican Senator Tom Cotton opposed the cannabis legalization bill and eradication, arguing that the law “would wipe out the criminal history of illegal immigrants.”

“When these criminals trafficked marijuana, they broke the law,” Cotton told his colleagues in a subcommittee. “What they did was illegal, whether or not some people felt the law was unfashionable or unfair.”

Cannabis industry reacts to Senate hearings

Mason Tvert, a partner at cannabis policy consulting firm VS Strategies, said: High Times “It’s refreshing to finally see an important discussion of cannabis policy in the Senate of Parliament,” after a hearing on Tuesday.

“History shows that the more people talk about and hear about cannabis, the faster the support for ending the ban grows,” Tvert wrote in an email. “Hopefully there is more to follow, and members will have the opportunity to continue listening to many important aspects of this key policy issue, from eradication and equity to the economic and public security interests of legalization.”

Ryan G. Smith, co-founder and CEO of the online cannabis wholesale platform LeafLink, urged lawmakers to approve comprehensive cannabis policy reforms at the national level.

“For too long, the color community has been disproportionately harmed by unjustified cannabis control,” Smith wrote in an email: High Times.. “Today’s hearing was a step forward, but now is the time for Congress to end the ban and take action to support an unjustly targeted and left-behind community.”

However, George Mancheril, co-founder and CEO of cannabis industry lender Bespoke Financial, is not optimistic that meaningful cannabis policy reforms will be approved in the near future, and the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. We are paying attention to the indisputable bill. Will allow banks to provide financial services to legitimate cannabis companies, did not work in Congress’s upper conference room.

“This hearing was an important step towards legalizing federal cannabis, but it still has a long way to go. Passing a comprehensive law has repeatedly stalled in the Senate at SAFE Bank. It’s much more difficult than a limited range of proposals, such as the law, “Mancheril said in an email. “The current political and economic environment is likely to keep all such cannabis-focused bills around political debates and is unlikely to pass soon, but in the future. We hope that the hearing will drive discussions towards the mechanisms and timelines provided by federal regulation. It will be clearer and more transparent to the industry and all stakeholders. “

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