The legalization of marijuana, a drug that is still considered illegal in most parts of the world, is a conversation that has been happening in all sorts of legislative and judicial rooms. Arguments for its support are usually centered on its medical benefits, while those that oppose it argues its addictive properties.
On Friday, in a leap for the plight of marijuana supporters, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon officially introduced a bill that would legalize and regulate marijuana sales and usage in the federal level. The bill, the Marijuana Revenue, and Regulation Act has been designated as S. 420 by Wyden and is a complementary measure to H.R. 420, which was introduced in the House of Representatives by fellow Oregon Democrat, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, last month.
The new bill aims to legalize, tax, and “responsibly regulate” marijuana consumption just like alcohol.
“The federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong, plain and simple. Too many lives have been wasted, and too many economic opportunities have been missed,” Wyden said. “It’s time Congress make the changes Oregonians and Americans across the country are demanding.”
Blumenauer agreed to say that voters’ opinion regarding marijuana use has changed over time and that it is time for it to be legalized federally.
“Oregon has been and continues to be a leader in commonsense marijuana policies, and the federal government must catch up,” said Blumenauer.
“The American people have elected the most pro-cannabis Congress in American history, and significant pieces of legislation are being introduced. The House is doing its work, and with the help of Senator Wyden’s leadership in the Senate, we will break through,” he added.
The proposed bill is part of a series of bills introduced in the Senate to aid the legislation of legal marijuana federally, dubbed by Wyden and Blumenauer as the Path to Marijuana Reform. The other measures in the package, the Small Business Tax Equity Act and the Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act. The Small Business Tax Equity Act would repeal provisions of the tax code that deny cannabis businesses the right to take the same tax deductions as companies in other industries.