Unpacking the New Republican Marijuana Bill

The recent unveiling of the States Reform Act of 2021 by Nancy Mace (R-SC) would remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and allow states to regulate their own markets, if they want them. Being the first Republican-led legalization bill, it keeps to Republican tradition: It proposes slashing federal taxes to an extraordinarily low three percent and cutting most social equity programs. 

Understanding the States Reform Act

A recent Gallup poll showed 70 percent of Americans supportive of federal decriminalization. With only three states left to legalize, being Idaho, Kansas, and Nebraska, it is clear that reform is necessary. As said by Rep. Mace, the States Reform Act would “federally decriminalize cannabis and fully defer to state powers over prohibition and commercial regulation,” lifting barriers to a free and open market.

Effect on Existing Laws

The States Reform Act would effectively remove cannabis, in its entirety, from the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This would make it federally legal. Individual states can decide if they want to allow, prohibit, or otherwise regulate cannabis delivery and related activity, as they deem fit. 

Effect on Expungement

To quote the Act, it promises, “Federal release and expungement for those convicted of nonviolent, cannabis-only related offenses.” This would exclude cartel-related offenses and be unavailable to those convicted of driving inebriated. State-level offenses would go through state judiciary processes. 

Effect on Medical Marijuana 

The Act would retain medical cannabis protections for arthritis, chronic pain, cancer, PTSD, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell, and other state-approved health conditions. The bill swears to “ensure safe harbor of state medical cannabis programs and patient access,” while enabling new research and product development.

Effect on Tax Rate

The Act intends imposing a federal excise tax of just three percent on weed delivery, marijuana activities, and cannabis products. That is controversially lower than previous proposals introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and others. For some, a point of contention. 

Effect on Tax Spending

A large portion of tax would fund law enforcement programs, as opposed to education and social equity programs proposed by previous bills. Law enforcement would get 40 percent, small businesses 30 percent, military veterans another 10 percent, and drug response and prevention 10 percent. 

Effect on Small Businesses

The bill compels immediate resolution of prohibition-related limitations on cannabusinesses. Financial services, like banking, are unavailable to those in the cannabis industry currently; this bill seeks to provide immediate access to these and other restricted services. 

Effect on Social Equity

No social equity measures exist specifically in the bill. Each state-market is unique, making it unsuitable to a conformed approach. There is also the expungement issue, which will only apply to federal offenders, leaving triple their number still languishing in jail. The bill only advises states to release them. 

Effect on Age Restrictions

The bill does not impose any federal age restrictions. Rather, it incentivizes states to mandate the legal age for those older than 21 years. Anyone younger would need a medical exception. The bill also includes language that would protect minors, those below legal age, from cannabis advertising. 

Effect on Veterans

Veterans will no longer lose their healthcare benefits for using weed. Further, the bill adds protections for them against discriminatory federal hiring practices. The bill would effectively allow veterans to use cannabis freely, a substance proven to help hugely with post-traumatic stress disorders. 

Effect on Interstate Commerce

According to the bill, “The Secretary shall expediously develop and implement a track-and-trace system for all cannabis in interstate commerce,” from seed to sale. Business will be permissible across state lines, so long as relevant agencies are in control of full regulation and enforcement. 

Effect on Struggling Businesses

Those cannabis companies struggling under the heavy tax burdens currently placed on them would enjoy much relief from this bill. By descheduling weed, it removes the onerous 280E tax penalty imposed on ailing business. This would free the finances of many and enable them to survive. 

Effect on Cannabis Language

Words matter, especially when it comes to Legalese. Names matter. The bill would make cannabis the official name for weed, effectively changing and removing all other references to it, such as marijuana, marihuana, weed, or anything else. This is primarily for commerce and regulatory purposes. 

Effect on Cultivation

Growers will enjoy higher protections under the bill. It calls for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate raw weed the same way it does any other traditional agricultural commodity. It would become a specialty crop, such as hops. As such, farmers would be able to acquire insurance for their crops.

Effect on Federal Regulation

The bill tasks regulation to the Treasury Department, albeit it controversially, given its anti-weed history. Businesses would require a federal license, the fee for which it caps it $10,000. It also offers waivers for smaller businesses. The Drug Enforcement Agency would no longer have a role in enforcement. 

Effect on Cannabis Advertising

Direct advertising of “drugs” to consumers is a concern for many people. This Act would allay some of their fears. It aims to give more control to regulators over misleading and false statements, as well as any other advertising that could potentially increase usage rates among minors. 

Backing of the Bill

The 2021 States Reform Act has five original co-sponsors, all Republican. “We are getting a lot of great feedback from Republican and Democrats on this bill,” Mace explained. “My main goal was to get as much Republican support as I can initially. We are hearing great feedback from both sides of the aisle on this legislation.” Support for it does appear promisingly high. 

Endorsed by the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, the Cannabis Freedom Alliance, and Americans for Prosperity, the bill comes across as a proposal that is both sensible and comprehensive, certainly worthy of serious consideration. Not everybody agrees with legalization, however. On both divides. Mace’s own home state party snubbed her for the bill, rejecting the very idea of legalization outright. 

Legal Marijuana Delivery Los Angeles

Finally, a Republican from South Carolina agrees that cannabis does not meet any of the criteria for scheduling at all, a fact that hippies knew back in the 1970s already. This is frankly huge. Between this bill and two others proposed on the Democrat side, common ground for legalization is appearing everywhere. This will likely get the job done. 

Just watching federal legalization unfold is truly exciting sport. The occasion is very momentous. Unprecedented. An admittance of defeat. It will regulate weed the way it does alcohol and its low-tax philosophy will likely bring prices down for consumers, while still increasing profits for businesses. It is already legal across Los Angeles. Simply search “weed delivery Los Angeles” in your favorite search engine. 

See also  Does Weed Really Change the Teen Brain?
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Comments (7)

  1. Avatar for Angelique Angelique November 24, 2021 / 7:22 am / Reply

    Really!!! That’s great

  2. Avatar for Francesca Francesca November 25, 2021 / 12:06 am / Reply

    Wow! If it passed, would be very cool

  3. Avatar for Britney Britney November 25, 2021 / 11:49 pm / Reply

    Hopeful for this!!!

  4. Avatar for Kaitlin Kaitlin November 26, 2021 / 10:41 pm / Reply

    Happy to see and read this!! I had no clue

  5. Avatar for Lolita Lolita November 28, 2021 / 7:22 am / Reply

    Hopeful for this..

  6. Avatar for Reyna Reyna December 1, 2021 / 1:14 pm / Reply

    Hmm! Great

  7. Avatar for Janell Janell December 4, 2021 / 1:56 pm / Reply

    Good stuff!

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