New bill would federally decriminalize marijuana, wipe records clean for those arrested

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Washington — A Pew Research poll taken in April showed that 91% of Americans want marijuana legalized for recreational and or medical use.

On Wednesday, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Ron Ryden (D-Ore.) drafted a bill known as the Cannabis administration and opportunity Act that would decriminalize marijuana on the federal level.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Schumer said, “The federal prohibition on cannabis is coming to an end. This is monumental because at long last we are taking steps in the Senate to write the wrongs of the failed war on drugs. I was the first Democratic leader to come out for the legalization of marijuana and I will use my clout as majority leader to make this a priority in the Senate. He added, “As my colleagues and I have said before, the war on drugs has really been a war on people. The Cannabis administration and opportunity Act would help put an end to the unfair targeting and treatment of communities by removing cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances. This is an idea whose time has come… it’s long overdue.”

Additionally, Schumer said, “We also very much believe in the expungement of records because of the historical overcriminalization.”

If passed, the bill would greatly impact Marion County due to the fact that Marion County has the highest incarceration rate in the state of Florida.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, expunge nonviolent federal cannabis-related criminal records, and start regulating and taxing the drug.

Schumer said, “People shouldn’t have to live with criminal records for the rest of their lives if they are caught with a small amount of marijuana in their possession.”

Booker said the bill would also seek to reinvest in the communities that have been the most harmed by the “War on Drugs.” Marijuana helps with seizures and many other medical issues. He said it helps veterans. He said law enforcement should be worried about bigger crimes such as sexual assault.

Schumer said, “The next step in the effort to get the bill passed is getting further input from stakeholder groups. We are going to get this done ASAP.”

The senate says this bill will be comprehensive and not just a banking bill to make those who are already rich, richer. The bill will be aimed at decriminalization and expungement of criminal records.

Schumer said prohibition hasn’t worked in the past and it’s not working now.

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