WASHINGTON, D.C. – A draft bill led by a Republican House member proposes to deschedule cannabis and regulate and tax it like alcohol.
Proposed by freshman Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC), the States Reform Act is being circulated for feedback from members of Congress and stakeholders. The 116-page bill may be officially filed as early as late November, according to online news outlet Marijuana Moment, which said it obtained a copy that had not been made public.
The draft legislation also proposes a 3.75-percent excise tax that would fund grants for reentry programs, law enforcement, and Small Business Administration loans for new cannabis businesses, which the agency would be required to treat like alcohol and tobacco entities. Other noteworthy provisions would provide safe-harbor exemptions and grandfathering provisions for patients and existing state-legal operations and make some non-violent federal offenders eligible for expungement. In addition, cultivation would be treated like any other agricultural sector, and the Food and Drug Administration would regulate cannabis and its derivatives only in pharmaceutical applications; other product-related regulations would be promulgated and enforced by the same Treasury department that oversees alcohol and tobacco.
Mace structured the draft legislation as a compromise that could attract buy-in from conservatives, who favor simple descheduling, and progressives, whose more comprehensive efforts incorporate criminal justice reform and taxation elements.