Proposed bill would decriminalize marijuana federally

Massachusetts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Some members of the U.S. Senate are moving to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

If the proposed bill passes, marijuana will be removed from the federally controlled substances list. While it’s legal here in Massachusetts, as well as 17 other states, the remaining federal prohibition has created headaches for the industry. Dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses don’t have access to banking services and loans.

“It would give us access to benefits, more importantly for our team members, benefits that we long sought after: Banking, insurance, other federally regulated programs,” said Teva Smith Director of Massachusetts Retail for Theory Wellness in Chicopee.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act would treat marijuana like alcohol or tobacco, allowing it to be taxed and regulated. It would also expunge federal nonviolent convictions and allow for records of them to be sealed.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker said, “We have children in this country, people all over this nation, our veterans, black and brown people, low income people now bearing the stain of having a criminal conviction for doing things that half of the last four presidents have admitted to doing.”

If passed, states could still outlaw marijuana use, not allow anyone under the age of 21 to purchase and it would still remain illegal to sell significant quantities of cannabis without proper licensing and authorization.

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