WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon's U.S. Senator Ron Wyden joined Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Cory Booker on Wednesday in introducing the discussion draft for a bill, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, that would federally declassify cannabis as a controlled substance.
The lawmakers said that ending federal criminalization of cannabis is becoming increasingly urgent as more and more states legalize both medical and recreational use. Wyden, Schumer, and Booker underlined that the vast majority of Americans believe that cannabis should be legalized in one form or another, and most Americans live in states where it is at least somewhat available legally.
“Cannabis prohibition, a key pillar of the failed War on Drugs, has caused substantial harm to our communities and small businesses, and especially for communities of color,” said Sen. Wyden, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. “It’s as simple as this: Senators Booker, Schumer and I want to bring common sense to the federal government, end prohibition and restore the lives of those hurt most and set them up for opportunity.”
The proposal introduced on Wednesday would not only remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances, it advocates expunging federal non-violent crimes involving marijuana and allowing people currently in federal prison for those crimes to petition a court for re-sentencing.
It would also establish a fund to invest in "communities that were hurt by the War on Drugs" and work for restorative justice in communities of color.
“For decades, our federal government has waged a War on Drugs that has unfairly impacted low-income communities and communities of color,” said Senator Booker. “While red and blue states across the country continue to legalize marijuana, the federal government continues to lag woefully behind. It is time for Congress to end the federal marijuana prohibition and reinvest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs. I am proud to introduce this landmark piece of legislation with Senator Wyden and Majority Leader Schumer that will finally turn the page on this dark chapter in American history and begin righting these wrongs.”