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Democrats revive cannabis decriminalization bill

May 1, 2024

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at a 2021 press conference on marijuana legalization. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Democratic senators moved today to reintroduce a bill that would decriminalize cannabis, a day after the Drug Enforcement Administration took steps to reschedule the substance.

Why it matters: The legislation would completely remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and put it under the jurisdiction of the FDA and the Treasury Department.

Zoom in: The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer with Sens. Ron Wyden and Cory Booker.

  • The measure, which was last introduced in 2022, would allow interstate commerce in cannabis and permit states that have not already done so to create their own regulatory systems, and decide whether to legalize the substance.
  • Its prospects are anything but certain: A narrower bill that would protect banks that work with cannabis companies died in the upper chamber last year.

Flashback: On Tuesday, the Biden administration moved to issue a final rule that would reschedule cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug.

  • Schedule I drugs are considered to have "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," while Schedule III drugs are considered to have "a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence."
  • The rule itself doesn't change the legality of cannabis at the federal level.
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