US Senate Bill to Legalize Marijuana, Expunge Past Offenses, Being Filed Tomorrow

Legislation to legalize marijuana will be filed tomorrow in the United States Senate.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) will be filed tomorrow by a coalition of Senate Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden.

The CAOA would require the US attorney general to finalize rules removing marijuana as a controlled substance within 180 days of the bill’s passage, place a 5% federal excise tax on marijuana producers that would increase to 12.5% by the fifth year, and establish the Center for Cannabis Products within the FDA, tasked with regulating “the production, labeling, distribution, sales and other manufacturing and retail elements of the cannabis industry”.

The measure is almost a companion bill to the MORE Act, filed in the House of Representatives last April. That bill, which has 87 sponsors, would also deschedule marijuana and establish a federal excise tax, and it would also allow for marijuana expungements, but it would not legalize marijuana or setup a regulatory system as the CAOA would.

Regardless of these differences, the widespread support among Democrats for these two bills demonstrate a united front behind descheduling marijuana.

Senate Leader Schumer and a number of other lawmakers, community leaders, organization officials and activists plan to speak on 4/20 in favor of the bill, which will mark its official introduction in the Senate.

For a breakdown of the 15 other marijuana-related bills currently active in the US Congress, click here. For a look at the four states with a legitimate shot of legalizing marijuana this year, click here.

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