"THREAD: It's official. Today, I am formally announcing my plan to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. It's time we allow states, once and for all, to have the power to decide what works best for them."
"I have long believed that states should function as their own laboratories of democracy. My bill is a step in the right direction aimed at removing the barriers to state legalization efforts."
"So why have I changed my stance? Looking at the numbers helped. 2/3 of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized, meanwhile more than half of all drug arrests in the United States are marijuana arrests. "
"And under existing law, the federal government considers marijuana as dangerous as heroin and treats it less favorably than cocaine. That has to change."
"In addition to decriminalization, my bill will invest critical resources into the THC research needed to prevent unintended effects on our youth and ensure highway safety."
"It will also maintain federal authority to regulate interstate trafficking to ensure that marijuana from states that have legalized doesn't pour into those that have not."
"Now, I recognize that time after time when these sweeping changes occur, the little guys lose while the big guys continue to profit. We saw this with big tobacco and we could see it with marijuana as well."
"That's why this bill will inject real dollars into minority and women-owned businesses to ensure those disproportionately affected by marijuana criminalization can benefit from this new economy."
"It's clear that African Americans and Latinos have been disproportionately impacted; approximately 80% of people in federal prison and 60% in state prison for drug offenses are black or Latino."
"This will not course correct the damage that's been done, but it is a first step that can help to enable those historically harmed to have an opportunity to better compete in the industry as we make this change on the federal level."
"Plain and simple: this is the right thing to do for America."