Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries have announced the reintroduction of the expansive Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act.
"It's time to decriminalize marijuana, and this bill is a critical first step," Schumer said Thursday, adding that the proposal "gives states the right to make their own choices when it comes to regulation; better equip all Americans, particularly communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana's criminalization, to participate in the growing marijuana economy; and, by incentivizing sealing and expungement programs, provide Americans with low-level marijuana convictions the opportunity to move forward."
Schumer previously discussed his intention to push for an overhaul of the laws still complicating the consumption of a totally safe substance in an interview with VICE News that aired one day prior to the 2018 edition of 4/20:
As Jeffries pointed out in his statement Thursday, the country's historically harsh marijuana laws have had the strongest impact on people of color.
"This critical effort works to correct that injustice by providing $100 million toward expungement programs and creating an investment fund for people of color and female entrepreneurs who wish to enter the lucrative legal cannabis industry," he said. "Senator Schumer should be commended for his stalwart leadership in this regard."
The act is endorsed by the Center for American Progress, the Drug Policy Alliance, and NORML. Among its key features is the removal of marijuana from the scheduled substances list (effectively decriminalizing it), a "funding stream" for women and minority-owned businesses, money for research on marijuana use and vehicle operation, tobacco-esque ad regulations, and the aforementioned $100 million grant aimed at helping those with prior marijuana convictions.