Voter support for marijuana legalization is more widespread than ever before. And finally, the United States government is beginning to listen to the voters. On July 21, 2022 Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.
What is the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act?
The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) is a nearly 300 page document that is an attempt at marijuana legalization at the federal level. Legalizing marijuana federally would allow for the FDA to create and monitor requirements similar to tobacco and alcohol. Establishing a new federal tax for marijuana will also be an impact of approving CAOA. Job training programs, programs focused on reentering society after incarceration, and programs for securing legal aid would all receive funding from the new tax.
As more states are legalizing marijuana – currently there are 18 states and Washington, DC that have legalized marijuana- this would end the federal prohibition on cannabis.
Will it Pass?
Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act will allow for marijuana legalization; however, it is being described as an “uphill battle” for the Senate. Should every Democrat approve the Bill an additional ten Republicans are needed to pass CAOA.
Schumer has set the goal that something will pass in order to legalize marijuana by the “end of the year.” On Tuesday, July 26, Senator Cory Booker is scheduled to lead a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on a meeting about “Decriminalizing Cannabis at the Federal Level: Necessary Steps to Address Past Harms.” Click here for more information.
What Happens after Marijuana Legalization?
Passing the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity act would introduce many changes, including:
- Regulating the cannabis industry.
- Protecting the rights of Cannabis Industry workers.
- Cannabis Businesses could access banking.
- Resentencing or even expunging record of cannabis offenders.
- Introduction of a new federal tax.
- Drug tests for federal employees will no longer include testing for marijuana.
- Permissible THC amounts will increase from 0.3% to 0.7%
Does Federal Marijuana Legalization Mean it is Legal Everywhere?
If the Bill does pass, states will still have the ability to ban the production and sale of marijuana. States will no longer be able to ban marijuana being transported through their state, as long as the destination is a legal state. In addition, regulations will be in effect. For example, just like with alcohol, users would have to be 21+ to purchase. Another regulation is that stores can only sell 10 ounces per individual transaction.
There is still a lot unknown about the Bill and if it is going to pass. Becoming law would cause significant changes in the cannabis industry as well as greatly impacting our Justice department. At this point, the Democratic party has introduced the Bill but there is still a while to go before any laws change.