Oklahoma OK('s Medical Marijuana, And Chuck Schumer's Stopped Being A Dick About It Too)
GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE! Chuck Schumer (finally) dropped
the text of his marijuana decriminalization bill, and it's super rad! But wait, there's more! Last night Oklahoma just voted for medical marijuana. Good times!
Schumer's bill is essentially the same one you heard about last month. It decriminalizes marijuana by amending the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, flushing any evidence or "marijuana" down the toilet. It does the same to the National Forest System Drug Control Act of 1986, and 18 U.S. Code § 2516, which essentially means Uncle Sam can't really spy on you for smoking weed, and doesn't really care about the ditch weed growing in the old park behind your grandma's house.
Perhaps the greatest thing about this bill is the fact that it's not just some cheap one-hitter. Schumer's bill also calls for hundreds of millions of dollars on various economic, health, and safety initiatives, while also cleaning up criminal records.
Aside from decriminalizing weed, the bill also proposes:
Create an annual estimate on total total tax revenue from sales in the marijuana industry through the Treasury Department. Create a "Marijuana Opportunity Trust Fund" from the tax revenue collected through the new marijuana industry. Add 10 percent of the total Treasury estimate on marijuana tax revenue to the trust fund every year. Issue loans to women and socially/economically disadvantaged people trying to start their own mom-and-pop weed shops with $10 million dollars from said trust fund. $50 million to study and develop strategies for dealing with DUIs for five years. $100 million to study the health effects and benefits of marijuana on the human body. Impose advertising restrictions to discourage kids from smoking weed. A $100 million grant distributed of over five years to states to help clear the records of people with weed convictions, with 50 percent of the money going towards public defenders and people offering legal aid. Give states the option to keep their existing marijuana laws.
Speaking of state weed laws,
Oklahoma just legalized medical marijuana. Despite being one of the most conservative states, Oklahoma State Question 788 passed 56 to 43, allowing people 18 and older to obtain medical marijuana from board-certified physicians. That's right Oklahomies, once you get a doctor's note, you can go treat your arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, or Crohn's Disease, then y'all can get lit on the porch and giggle your ass off at Spongebob (with or without the grandkids).
Before you go strolling down the street chain smoking blunts, remember the legislative process is often worse than dirty bong water. Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin has threatened to convene a special legislative session to create additional regulations on the initiative's fairly lax medical pot rules. It's also way too early to tell what will be in the final version of Schumer's decriminalization bill, to say nothing of whether or not it will survive a floor vote in the Senate, or the House.
With that being said, this bill forces the GOP to choose between conservatism and their constituents. Many of the old manufacturing and farming areas battling unemployment and opioid addiction are in red states with deep red districts. The same people painting Confederate flags on their rusty Trans-Ams are often wearing tattered t-shirts emblazoned with pot leafs. This bill could create jobs in many dormant industries provided Democrats put enough heat on Republicans up and down the ballot, and has the added benefit of making Trump and Jeff Sessions look like a bunch of narcs, because they are.
[ Alex Ruoff / Senate Democrats / CNBC]
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Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.