Republican lawmakers on Monday formally introduced the States Reform Act, a bill to federally legalize and tax cannabis that acts as an alternative to similar legislation from Democrats.
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) is sponsoring the bill along with five other Republican cosponsors.
"I would categorize this bill as a compromise bill. It takes into account some of the reforms that Democrats have proposed in legislation," Mace said at a press conference Monday afternoon.
Cannabis use under the age of 21 would be illegal. The bill deschedules cannabis, decriminalizing it and allowing it to be researched. It also protects individual states rights to regulate the drug as they see fit.
The bill would also preclude the need for the Safe Banking Act, which opens up banking funds for cannabis companies. It also carries a 3% excise tax on cannabis sales.
The bill would allow for the release of prisoners held on marijuana convictions, with some exceptions, and the expungement of citizens with marijuana convictions on their records.
Interstate commerce and import/export laws are both addressed in the bill.
The bill will have a lighter regulatory touch, lower taxes and fewer provisions for minorities compared to other pending bills, according to Bloomberg, whose sources have seen the draft legislation.
The States Reform Act is a counter to the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act that is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Bloomberg reports that Mace's bill would regulate cannabis in a similar fashion as alcohol.