All across America, many states have taken a new stance on marijuana laws. For most jurisdictions that revised or plan to revise marijuana drug laws, decriminalization usually represents the first step. Ideally, when jurisdictions make these laws, they lead to retroactive pardons. Will the federal government take similar action?
CNN reported that in 2019, Washington pardoned thousands of drug convictions after voters approved the legalization of marijuana. People who worked on the law say the decision stemmed from a grounded belief in the unfairness of punishing others for an action that was no longer a crime. This may soon become reflected in federal laws.
The federal bill for decriminalization
ABC News reported that the Senate may vote on a bill to legalize marijuana in the latter part of September. At the time of writing this article, news agencies had not yet reported an update, but Americans await the ruling with bated breath. The bill would see marijuana lose its federal status as a controlled substance.
The retroactive application
The bill currently includes provisions for expunging records related to marijuana convictions and arrests. To add to this, communities affected by the war on drugs may also receive resources to assist with recovery. Lawmakers behind the bill believe that states have paved the way and it is now time for the federal government to follow suit.
If the bill successfully passes, it may become the biggest marijuana-related reform at the federal level in almost a century. It may also become a political chess piece in the upcoming elections. Democrats strongly support the move, while Republicans remain resistant to changing federal marijuana laws.