Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Senate Democrats would submit a federal legalization bill the following week, which caused a surge in the price of marijuana stocks. According to Bloomberg sources, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer collaborated on the plan with Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).
According to the report, they modified a draft bill after distributing it last year and receiving responses from key committees. Tilray Brands shares increased as high as 20%, while Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth rose 10% and 7%, respectively. Slow federal legalization efforts have weighed on the industry, making Thursday’s statement a rare ray of light.
The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, which now classifies cannabis as a schedule-1 controlled substance. According to Bloomberg, it would still permit governments to maintain or enforce bans on manufacture and distribution. The law would also provide underserved towns subsidies to enter the legal marijuana industry.
In April, the House decided to decriminalize marijuana, expunge existing convictions, and tax new cannabis enterprises. The bill will likely require at least 60 votes to pass the evenly-divided chamber if it reaches Senate Republicans, who are certain to oppose it. A draft of the cannabis law states that legalization would end the war on drugs, which it characterizes as a war on people, particularly people of colour.
“The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act seeks to end decades of harm to communities of color by removing cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and empowering states to enact their cannabis laws,” continues. According to the draft, 18 states have allowed adult marijuana usage, and 90 per cent of Americans feel cannabis should be legal for both adult and medical use.
In addition to decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level, the bill would erase federal nonviolent marijuana crimes, establish a fund to reinvest federal cannabis tax revenue in communities impacted by drug offences and provide financial assistance to entrepreneurs of colour who face barriers in the industry. States could continue to establish their cannabis laws.
In April, the House decided to legalize cannabis and cleanse the records of anyone convicted of misdemeanour cannabis offences. After its passage, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act did not advance.