Schumer, Jeffries Talk Weed Decriminalization

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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN   Two Congressional lawmakers shot a weed ad Wednesday and they did it in Brooklyn.

(From left to right) U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and U.S. Sen. Charles "Chuck" Schumer at BRIC shooting a video to promote the decriminalization of marijuana. (Photo: Courtesy of the offices of Jeffries and Schumer)
(From left to right) U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and U.S. Sen. Charles “Chuck” Schumer at BRIC shooting a video to promote the decriminalization of marijuana. (Photo: Courtesy of the offices of Jeffries and Schumer)

U.S. Sen. Charles “Chuck” Schumer and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries teamed up with BRIC to reintroduce a year-old bill proposal that would decriminalize marijuana on a federal level. In the video, lawmakers sat face-to-face for two-and-half minutes discussing proposed legislation, dubbed the “Marijuana Freedom Opportunity Act” which would give states the right to create their own policies on recreational marijuana.

“It’s time to decriminalize marijuana, and this bill is a critical first step,” said Schumer, noting the bill would help communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana’s criminalization.

The proposal authorizes half-a-billion dollars for the next five years to study the effects of marijuana as a medicinal product and its effect on the brain. An additional $100 million would go to programs dedicated to sealing the records of some individuals convicted of marijuana charges, with no less than 50% of those funds directed to public defenders. A portion of the funds would be left in an investment fund to aid people of color and women-owned businesses in securing loans to enter the cannabis industry.

“For far too long, the impact of America’s repressive, archaic marijuana laws has been felt most heavily by people of color,” said Jeffries. “This critical effort works to correct that injustice by providing $100 million toward expungement programs and creating an investment fund for people of color and female entrepreneurs who wish to enter the lucrative legal cannabis industry.”

The proposal also authorizes $250 million investment towards research in determining the effects of driving under the influence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The funds would also go towards developing technology to measure impairment.

The Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau will regulate marijuana-related advertisement targeted at minors.

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