Senate Marijuana Legalization Bill Falls Flat

Late last month, Senators Chuck Schumer, Corey Booker and Ron Wyden issued the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), a long-awaited bill that would legalize and commercialize marijuana across the country. However, to the surprise and embarrassment of the marijuana industry, the bill was issued with little fanfare. In fact, it faced fierce resistance from opponents concerned about the growing influence of Big Marijuana and the consequences of normalizing marijuana.

After months of speculation, nearly a year after the release of the discussed draft of the bill, and repeated promises that the final bill would come soon, the CAOA was in vain.

Senate Majority Leaders, who preferred marijuana two years ago, didn’t even hold a press conference, a standard procedure for drawing support and attention to the preferred legislation. Senator Booker was silent on the bill, as was Senator Wyden. With few exceptions, sponsors did not speak to the media about it, perhaps indicating their hesitation to answer questions about its inevitable public health consequences.

The marijuana issue is unlikely to be politically beneficial to Democrats, despite some legalization advocates arguing that it would have a “cotel effect” in the coming midterm election. His reasoning is that when marijuana is on the ballot, there will be additional marijuana voters turning out to promote like-minded candidates. Although, five thirty eight found the evidence to be less conclusive, writing that any potential electoral impact from marijuana is “small and fairly neutral”.

Even if some voters want to see legalization pass, the relative importance of marijuana compared to other issues diminishes. Americans are more Concentrate on issues affecting their bank accounts. Yet pro-marijuana officials chose to use their limited legislative bandwidth to introduce a bill that has no chance of passing.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 28: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters during a news conference at the US Capitol on July 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. Schumer discussed CHIPS and science legislation as well as his recent agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
Drew Anger / Getty Images

Based on its merits, CAOA leaves a lot to be desired. While it has some public health provisions, such as prohibiting advertising to minors, it fails to address many of the problems seen in states that have legalized marijuana, including bustling illegal market activity, vulnerable populations and increased use among youth, and includes longer periods. Effects of duration on public health. The public health provisions of the bill also lack serious enforcement measures; Many of them are either optional or leave the industry to self-regulate.

Thanks to enthusiastic protests from smart approaches to marijuana—a nonpartisan group I lead—and grassroots organizations across the country, the bill’s provisions were quickly rebutted.

For example, despite the unprecedented rise in the potency of marijuana, which has been linked to addiction and mental health issues, the CAOA does not establish a potency cap, an appropriate policy implemented in many states. In Colorado, after legalization, the potency of “flowering” marijuana has increased. 14 percent THC in 2014 to 19.2 percent In 2020–vapes now average 79.7 percent. Daily use of marijuana above 10 percent THC increases the risk of developing psychosis by about five times. Users of high-potency marijuana also face a “fourfold increased risk”. AddictionCAOA would harm the mental health and well-being of millions of Americans and allow the industry to push increasingly powerful products.

Additionally, the discussion draft of the CAOA included provisions for studying the effects of marijuana in the workplace. But knowing that increased use has resulted in marijuana-related accidents and reduced productivity, industry lobbyists removed this provision from the bill. Far from advancing public health or improving public safety, the CAOA is focused on commercializing marijuana alone and entering the next addiction-profiteering industry.

Given that the MORE Act, which would have legalized marijuana, and the Safe Banking Act both stalled in the Senate, this latest effort with the CAOA has no chance of being passed or signed into law by President Joe Biden, Those who oppose marijuana legalization. Still, it shows the ability of the marijuana industry to influence the policymaking process. This should be a concern for all Americans, given that we’ve seen this movie with Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol before. Let’s not be stupid again.

Dr. Kevin Sabet is a former senior drug policy adviser to the Obama administration and currently serves as President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. His latest book, Smokescreen: What the Marijuana Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know, was published by Simon & Schuster on April 20 and is available everywhere the books are sold.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

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