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A new Republican-led bill is set to be introduced in Congress with one overarching goal – legalize cannabis at the federal level.

With dozens of states now implementing medical or recreational cannabis laws locally, the drive for nationwide legalization is nothing new, but what is new, is that push coming from the right side of the aisle.

“It’s past time for Congress to recognize that continued cannabis prohibition is neither tenable nor the will of the American electorate,” Rep. David Joyce, (R-Ohio) said in a statement earlier this year.

The new bill, spearheaded by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) – The States Reform Act – would address federal cannabis prohibition with a business-friendly, states rights focused tilt that Rep. Mace hopes will appeal to her Republican colleagues.

According to leaked documents obtained by Marijuana Moment, the States Reform Act would deschedule cannabis at the federal level, treating the plant similar to alcohol under federal law. The bill would give power to the USDA to regulate cannabis cultivation like any other crop, and give the FDA oversight of medical cannabis. At a retail level, cannabis would be taxed at a rate of 3.75% with that money going towards “grant programs for community reentry, law enforcement and Small Business Administration (SBA) aid for newly licensed businesses.” To ensure the immediate and continued availability of legal cannabis, the bill would grandfather state-legal businesses into a federally legal structure.

“You have to gauge the public’s will with your own conscience, and that’s what we [senators] do every day in lots of areas. And this is certainly one of those that probably will test that,” said North Dakota Republican Senator Kevin Cramer, who represents a state where medical marijuana is legal, told Politico earlier this year. “The state has made these decisions. And now the question is, how do we respond to the state’s decision to make it as ethical an industry as we possibly can?”

From the start of America’s experiments with cannabis legalization, the issue has largely been considered a liberal endeavor. Lumped in as a criminal and moral panic reminiscent of Reefer Madness, the idea that cannabis could be a legitimate facet of mainstream American culture was – and often still is – treated as a farfetched pipe dream of hippies and heathens.

“I think they can do other narcotics and things to relieve people’s pain and suffering,” GOP Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama told Politico. When asked if he believes his position is in conflict with the will of Alabamans, Shelby replied, “I don’t know. You got to have some principle, yourself.”

When it comes to the will of the people – even in deeply red states – cannabis is quickly becoming one of the most popular single-issue political topics in the country. According to a new poll from Rasmussen Reports, more than  50% of Republicans now support federal cannabis legalization, bringing total support for legalization above 60%. Other polls have put the nationwide support for legalization closer to 70%.

Amongst fervent legalization supporters on both sides of the aisle, though, the early look at the States Reform Act is already gaining favor. As it currently stands, America’s complex web of state-specific legal weed industries has created high average tax rates and steep barriers to entry for prospective small business owners. The Republican-led bill’s proposed 3.75% tax rate is much lower than those of the current Democrat-led legalization proposals, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which would set rates as high as 8% and 25% respectively. Additionally, the business-friendly, low regulation goals of Republican policy are embraced by many in the cannabis industry.

Where the Republican-led bill differs most notably from similar efforts from the left side of the aisle, is a lack of focus on social justice and industry equity. After decades of clearly documented institutional and street-level racism carried out under the guise of the war on drugs, many cannabis advocates, including those in Congress, have argued that any legalization effort should in some way prioritize those most affected by the rampant persecution of pot prohibition.

“The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of color. Ending the federal marijuana prohibition is necessary to right the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of harm inflicted on communities of color across the country. But that alone is not enough,” Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a joint statement earlier this year. “As states continue to legalize marijuana, we must also enact measures that will lift up people who were unfairly targeted in the War on Drugs.”

Still, no matter which bill currently slated for discussion in Congress makes it further, it is entirely possible that no legalization proposal makes it past President Joe Biden’s desk. Despite more than 70% support amongst Democratic voters and widespread support at all levels of the party, Biden has remained staunchly anti-legalization and has shown no signs of changing his mind.