GOP Congresswoman Offers Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana | National News

A Republican member of Congress proposed a bill Monday to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, making a push for bipartisan support on an issue typically championed by Democrats in years past.

Freshman Rep. Nancy Mace, South Carolina Republican, during a news conference Monday introduced the States Reform Act, which would federally decriminalize cannabis and regulate the substance similarly to how alcohol is regulated while instituting a 3% excise tax on cannabis products.

“The States Reform Act takes special care to keep Americans and their children safe while
ending federal interference with state cannabis laws,” Mace said in a statement. “Washington needs to provide a framework which allows states to make their own decisions on cannabis moving forward. This bill does that.”

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Mace’s bill, with the support of five Republican co-sponsors, would join several other efforts to legalize the substance at the federal level – efforts that have largely been led by Democrats with limited support across party lines. But Mace’s measure, which she calls a “compromise bill,” could perhaps mark a willingness from Republicans to consider the issue.

“We’re hearing great feedback from both chambers from both sides of the aisle on this piece of legislation because it is a go-between, a turnkey piece of legislation that is a compromise between what has been filed previously on both sides of the aisle,” Mace said. “This legislation, I believe, has something good for everyone whether you are a Democrat or a Republican.”

Support for legalizing marijuana stands at 68%, according to a recent Gallup poll, maintaining a record high reached in 2020. Mace cited public support for decriminalizing the substance, and stressed the bill’s implications for veterans, among other groups, who she argued should not be discriminated against in federal hiring due to marijuana use.

“This bill supports veterans, law enforcement, farmers, businesses, those with serious illnesses, and it is good for criminal justice reform,” Mace said. “Furthermore, a super-majority of Americans support an end to cannabis prohibition, which is why only three states in the country have no cannabis reform at all.”

In 2012, voters in Colorado made it the first state in the country to legalize the recreational use and sale of cannabis. Eighteen other states, Washington, D.C. and Guam have since legalized the drug as public support for legalization rose rapidly – despite marijuana being illegal at the federal level.

Although the bill would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, no state or local government would be required to change its current policies, Mace noted. Instead, the bill would remove the substance from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and, therefore, give states the ability “to determine what level of cannabis reform each state already has, or not.”

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