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Schumer at the NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally in March. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) unveiled draft legislation on Wednesday to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: Though the legislation faces steep odds in the 50-50 Senate, it's a major milestone for marijuana activists and a sign of how far the debate has moved on criminal justice and the war on drugs.

Details: The bill, called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, would remove the drug from the Controlled Substances Act and impose a federal tax on marijuana products, according to Marijuana Moment.

  • Revenue from the tax would be used to fund grant programs for communities most impacted by marijuana prosecutions. Regulation of marijuana would be transferred away from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies.
  • States would still be allowed to set their own marijuana laws, but businesses and individuals in states that have legalized it would be allowed to sell and consume marijuana without the risk of federal punishment.
  • The bill would also require federal districts to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related arrests and convictions within one year.

Between the lines: Taking marijuana off the list of controlled substances "would remove the most difficult regulatory burdens from U.S. marijuana companies, allowing them to take tax deductions, hold bank accounts and loans, and list on U.S. stock exchanges such as the Nasdaq and the NYSE," Bloomberg reports.

What they're saying: "For decades, young men and women — disproportionately young Black and Hispanic men and women, have been arrested and jailed for even carrying a small amount of marijuana in their pocket," Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

  • "This is monumental," Schumer said Wednesday while announcing the draft legislation. "At long last, we are taking steps in the Senate to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs."

What to watch: The House voted overwhelmingly to decriminalize marijuana last year and reintroduced a bill in May. Any weed legislation will likely face a difficult path forward in the Senate, where Republicans have expressed opposition and some moderate Democrats may be skeptical. President Biden has not endorsed the bill.

Go deeper: Advocates, Democrats plan to push major pot reform

Go deeper

Mexico's Roe v. Wade

Pro-choice protests in Guadalajara, Mexico, with signs saying, “Maternity will be wanted or it won’t be” and “Take your rosaries off my ovaries,” September 2020. Photo: Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously this week that abortion cannot be considered a crime, in a decision called “historic” for the heavily Catholic country and reached while its northern neighbor, Texas, is severely restricting those procedures.

Why it matters: At least 850 women have been criminally charged and over 200 of them imprisoned across Mexico in the past two decades because of state laws that impose fines or jail time for abortions and even for miscarriages, according to NGOs.

Ina Fried, author of Login
6 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

How COVID slowed 5G

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Two years into the 5G era, expensive new cellular networks have blanketed much of the country, but they have yet to change our lives.

Between the lines: It was always going to take some time for 5G's full impact — from faster service to new uses — to arrive. But the pandemic has slowed even some of the initial benefits.

Biden's big bet backfires

Two key dealmakers — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) — leave a luncheon in the Capitol yesterday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/L.A. Times via Getty Images

President Biden bit off too much, too fast in trying to ram through what would be the largest social expansion in American history, top Democrats privately say.

Why it matters: At the time Biden proposed it, he had his mind set on a transformational accomplishment that would put him in the pantheon of FDR and JFK.

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