Schumer Seeks To Legalize Weed From Coast to Coast
(TruthandLiberty.com) – For decades, Democrats have been calling on Congress to make marijuana legal. In several blue states, the lawmakers accomplished their goals. Still, many wonder if the legalization had the intended benefit of drawing tax dollars to the state coffers or making illegal cannabis more popular among users.
On Thursday, July 21, Senate Democrats introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to legalize marijuana nationwide without fear of punishment from federal officials. The proposal comes over 50 years after Congress made pot criminal. Yet, will federal legalization of the drug really end the illicit pot trade?
Schumer Learns Little From California
While the bill stands little chance of passing in the evenly divided Senate, that’s not stopping Schumer from plowing forward with the proposed law. Even if it doesn’t pass, Democrats say they’ll insert parts of it into other legislation with hopes of legalizing pot one small piece at a time.
For decades, Democrats said decriminalizing the drug would positively impact Americans. Yet, that doesn’t appear to be the situation in California. In 2016, California legalized weed for recreational use. Still, state officials expect to seize over $1 billion in illegal cannabis products over the next year.
So, if legalizing the drug was such a good idea, why is the black-market trade still rampant?
State-licensed marijuana dealers have not replaced the black market. If anything, the 2016 law may have helped the illicit trade grow. Experts say high taxes on the pot, local bans, and over-regulation doomed the legislation from the beginning. As a result, 66% to 75% of all pot sales in the Golden State are illegal.
Reason Foundation said California lawmakers increased the tax rate on cannabis from $42 to $92 per ounce. Yet, wholesale production costs are only $35 per ounce. Additionally, burdensome regulations regarding cultivating, growing, transporting, warehousing, tracking, and retail licensing requirements also contributed to the high costs for consumers, potentially driving many back to the black market for a more affordable product.
Yet, Schumer seems to have learned nothing.
Democrats Could Make Illegal Trade of Cannabis More Profitable for Illicit Grows and Dealers
The federal government could worsen the black-market cannabis trade despite California’s cautionary roadmap of the pitfalls it should avoid when monetizing and regulating legal marijuana sales. In the 296-page legislation, 52 pages explicitly tackle taxes, and 71 add new regulations on marijuana businesses.
Schumer proposes a 10% initial federal excise tax, raising the figure to 25% by year five. That’s on top of state and local taxes. In addition, the legislation would require businesses to register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and comply with state registrations. The legislation also empowers the FDA to add restrictions it deems “appropriate for the protection of the public health.” Knowing the recent history of public health measures after COVID, the FDA could create all kinds of new regulations.
If passed, the federal government may drive marijuana users into the arms of drug dealers who could make illegal pot cheaper than the legal stuff.
So, what do you think? Is legalization the way to go, or would the move cause more harm than good?
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