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GOP members of the House of Representatives introduced legislation on Monday that seeks to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and provide protection to marijuana businesses by regulating its use and distribution in a manner similar to alcohol.
The initiative was carried by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), as an alternative to the Democratic effort to legalize and normalize the consumption of the drug.
The legal and commercial reality of marijuana
In a statement, Mace expressed the need for the federal government to provide a legal framework that makes it easier for states to make their own decisions regarding their ways of regulating cannabis use.
“Today, only 3 states lack some form of legal cannabis. My home state of South Carolina permits CBD, Florida allows medical marijuana, California and others have full recreational use, for example,” Mace noted in the document. “Every state is different. Cannabis reform at the federal level must take all of this into account. And it’s past time federal law codifies this reality.”
Along those lines, Mace’s states reform bill proposes to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and defer responsibility for regulatory issues to the states.
The bill also proposes to implement a 3% federal tax on cannabis products in order to fund mental health initiatives.
“This bill supports veterans, law enforcement, farmers, businesses, those with serious illnesses, and it is good for criminal justice reform. Furthermore, a super-majority of Americans support an end to cannabis prohibition, which is why only 3 states in the country have no cannabis reform at all,” Mace said.
Although adult use of marijuana is already legal in 18 states and medical use is permitted in 36 states, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. This implies an impediment for the business sector to get involved in the gigantic (and growing) cannabis market.