WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC) on Monday introduced a bill to federally decriminalize marijuana.
The States Reform Act would empower state governments to “determine what level of cannabis reform or legalization each state wants to regulate, or not.” States would not be required to change their current status, however, would be able to do so should they choose.
Mace released a statement reading in part:
“This bill supports veterans, law enforcement, farmers, businesses, those with serious
illnesses, and it is good for criminal justice reform. Furthermore, a super-majority of
Americans support an end to cannabis prohibition, which is why only 3 states in the country have no cannabis reform at all. The States Reform Act takes special care to keep Americans and their children safe while ending federal interference with state cannabis laws. Washington needs to provide a framework which allows states to make their own decisions on cannabis moving forward. This bill does that.”
If passed, the bill would give the federal government the power to regulate cannabis, “like alcohol under the US Department of Agriculture for growers, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms/ Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for cannabis products, and Food and Drug Administration for medical use.”
It would also place a 3% federal excise tax on cannabis products. The tax would be used to pay for law enforcement, small business, and veterans mental health initiatives.
Approximately 2,600 individuals convicted of nonviolent federal offenses related only to cannabis would be eligible for release and expungement at the federal level. States would be allowed to determine whether they want to follow suit.
State Representative JA Moore says this will benefit minority communities here in the Lowcountry.
“Here in Charleston, African Americans are more than 4 times likely to be arrested because of cannabis related stops, so I am looking at it from a criminal justice reform,” says Rep. Moore.
The releases and expungements would not apply to cartel members, agents of cartel gangs, or people convicted of DUIs.
To prevent cannabis use among children and young adults, the bill would provide an incentive to states that make cannabis illegal for people under the age of 21 (with the exception of prescribed medical use).
Under the bill, medical cannabis would be allowed for the following conditions:
- Chronic pain
- Sickle Cell
States would be allowed to add other approved conditions to the above list.
The South Carolina Republican Party released a statement opposing the proposed bill, saying in part
“Our Party platform is clear: ‘We support firm enforcement of existing laws against the abuse and distribution of controlled substances, and we oppose any effort to legalize the use of controlled substances,’ and that includes marijuana.”
SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick went on to say “unequivocally, the South Carolina Republican Party is against any effort to legalize, decriminalize the use of controlled substances, and that includes this bill. Since this will have widespread negative impacts, from rising crime, violence, and mental health issues in children, I think it’s a safe bet to say most Republicans will be against it too.”