Recently, Representative Nancy Mace, a first-term Republican from South Carolina, proposed a bill that would repeal the federal prohibition on cannabis.
The States Reform Act proposes that cannabis be removed from the Controlled Substances Act, where it is now classified as a Schedule I drug with LSD & heroin and regulated similarly to alcohol. With the exception of medical usage, the federal government would enforce a countrywide 21-year-old age limit for cannabis consumption. States would be able to create their own regulations and laws about cannabis under the measure, including barring sales and usage within state boundaries.
“I would classify it as a compromise bill it includes something positive for everyone, Republicans and Democrats,” Mace said at a press conference outside the White House. “I spent a lot of time thinking about how we could make this kind of legislation appealing to individuals on both sides of the political aisle and around the country, knowing that every state is different.”
The bill would allow interstate trade, which would be a significant change from the patchwork of state regulations that presently exist in 36 states. While marijuana remains prohibited under federal law, it is not permitted to transport it from one state to another. Mace’s plan would also remove the legal barriers that impede cannabis enterprises in the United States from accessing the financial system.
A few of the bill’s components are identical to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s and Senators Ron Wyden & Cory Booker’s draught plan presented in July. Both would repeal the federal ban on marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act and allowing states to make their own laws, much as they do with alcohol. Both would allow cannabis businesses in the United States to use the banking system, ask for loans, and trade on major stock exchanges. The most significant distinction is that Mace’s measure has been filed, whereas Schumer’s proposal has not yet been properly launched. Taxes are another significant distinction between the two. Schumer’s draught proposed a ten percent federal excise tax, which would rise to twenty-five percent in five years if the plan passed. Mace’s plan, which was introduced recently, proposes a 3% federal excise tax that would remain in place for the next 10 years.
Many cannabis business professionals have praised Mace’s bill.
Mace’s States Reform Act, according to Green Thumb Industries CEO Ben Kovler, “appears to be a feasible strategy that would put states in control of cannabis regulations.”
Curaleaf CEO Joe Bayern said the proposed bill “has common sense criteria for present state markets, regulation, safe harbor, age-appropriate restrictions, criminal justice reform, hiring standards, and veterans’ access,” and that it is a “thoughtful” solution to decriminalize cannabis.