Tina Smith introduces bill to legalize marijuana at federal level

“The federal prohibition on marijuana is a failed policy that contributes to mass incarceration and the racist overpolicing of communities of color."

Tina Smith

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) announced Monday that she has introduced legislation to legalize marijuana at the federal level.

According to a press release from Smith’s office, her Substance Regulation and Safety Act of 2020 would nix the federal prohibition on marijuana by removing it from the nation’s list of illegal controlled substances.

The bill would grant the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate cannabis just as it does for tobacco products. The minimum age for purchasing cannabis products under Smith’s bill would be 21 years of age.

“The federal prohibition on marijuana is a failed policy that contributes to mass incarceration and the racist overpolicing of communities of color. It is time to end that policy,” Smith said in a statement.

“In addition to addressing the harmful and racist legacy of the War on Drugs by passing bills like Senator Harris’ Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, we must address marijuana legalization in a manner that ensures that cannabis and cannabis products are safe, regulated, and well-researched,” she continued.

Smith said her bill would establish a national strategy to combat the abuse of marijuana by youth, with special considerations for preventing “racially disparate impacts of the strategy.”

Another provision of the bill requires the establishment of an “evidence-based standard for detecting cannabis-impaired driving.”

“At the end of the day, the public overwhelmingly supports legalization but our laws have not kept up. I’m here to say that yes, our country can legalize marijuana and do so in a smart, commonsense way,” Smith said on Twitter when announcing her bill.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, while a total of 26 states have decriminalized small amounts of the substance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A total of 33 states have medical marijuana programs.

Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) introduced a bill in May to legalize the adult use of cannabis in the state.

“As we look to come out of this crisis as a better, stronger Minnesota, we need to continue working toward legalizing cannabis for responsible adult use,” Winkler said in a press release at the time.

Gov. Tim Walz has also expressed his support for legalizing recreational marijuana at the state level.

Smith is up for reelection in November and will face off against Republican candidate Jason Lewis, a former member of Congress.


Anthony Gockowski
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Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.