South Carolina Republican introduces bill to decriminalize marijuana at federal level

Rep. Nancy Mace, a first-term Republican from South Carolina, introduced a bill Monday to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, which she hopes will garner more GOP support for the legalization movement.

“This legislation, I believe, has something good for everyone, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” Mace told reporters outside the Capitol, where she introduced her States Reform Act.

Even though it is legal in 18 states, with medical use permissible in 37 states, marijuana is illegal under federal law.

Mace’s bill would strip cannabis of its classification as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which makes possession of marijuana a crime. Her office said the legislation aims to end criminalization “in a manner consistent with the rights of states to determine what level of cannabis reform or legalization each state wants to regulate, or not.”

The measure also would allow for expungement of federal convictions in nonviolent cases and provide a framework for federal regulation and enforcement in states that allow the sale of marijuana.

Sales would be prohibited to people under 21, Mace said, adding that the bill would establish cannabis regulations similar to restrictions on alcohol.

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