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Rep. Nancy Mace, a GOP freshman lawmaker from a swing South Carolina coastal district, is making a Republican case to legalize marijuana on the federal level, and Amazon just offered a major endorsement of her plan.
The e-commerce giant said Tuesday that it backs Mace’s “comprehensive reform that speaks to the emergence of a bipartisan consensus that it is time to end the federal prohibition of cannabis.”
Amazon in June 2021 started excluding marijuana from pre-employment drug screening programs for non-transportation positions. The company said the marijuana testing “has disproportionately affected communities of color by stalling job placement and, by extension, economic growth, and we believe this inequitable treatment is unacceptable.”
Mace’s bill is the only GOP-backed pot proposal Amazon has gotten behind. Mace said Amazon’s interest comes down to expanding the potential workforce.
“They don’t want to sell it,” Mace told Fox News Digital. “That’s not their interest. It affects about 10% of the workforce in their hiring process.”
Amazon already backed Democratic proposals to decriminalize pot, including the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act), authored by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., that passed the House in 2020, as well as the Sen. Chuck Schumer-backed Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.
HOUSE PASSES LEGISLATION TO DECRIMINALIZE MARIJUANA AT FEDERAL LEVEL
Mace’s legislation, called the States Reform Act, would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and allow states to decide whether to legalize or prohibit it. Under her bill, cannabis would be regulated much like alcohol and taxed at a 3% federal excise tax. And her bill would release an estimated 2,600 non-violent cannabis offenders from federal prison and expunge their criminal records.
“If you are not a supporter of cannabis reform, we’re not forcing your state to legalize it,” Mace said of her legislation. “If you are a supporter of cannabis reform [and] it’s legal in your state, it can stay legal and can operate the way it has been. And so there’s something for people on both sides of the aisle here. It’s very pragmatic in its approach.”
She wants to make a bipartisan pitch for the legislation and is now seeking Democratic sponsors. Her plan is to have an even number of Democratic and GOP backers, secure a committee hearing on the bill and find a Senate partner to author a companion bill in the upper chamber.
GOP REP. NANCY MACE’S CANNABIS DECRIMINALIZATION BILL IS PERSONAL – AND A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE
A November Gallup survey found 68% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, a record-high number. And all but three states — Idaho, Kansas and Nebraska — allow some form of legal cannabis, ranging from states that just allow the use of cannabidiol (CBD) extract, usually in oil form for medical reasons, to states that have legalized recreational marijuana.
Mace said there’s bipartisan support across America to no longer classify pot as a Schedule I drug like heroin, and it’s time for Washington to recognize the trend toward legalization that’s already happening in the states.
“We’re not putting this genie back in the bottle,” Mace said.
It’s time to “just get the federal government out of the way of what’s already happening,” Mace said. “This has been a very long, painful, harmful and expensive federal war on a plant. And it’s time to end it.”
Mace said her path toward pot legalization started after being raped as a teen and feeling she “wanted to end everything.”
“For me, it’s personal,” Mace said. “When I was raped when I was 16, it was a very traumatic and dark time for me, and I was prescribed antidepressants at the time. It made my feelings of depression worse. I felt like it made it worse and really made me feel like I wanted to end everything.”
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“And so I stopped taking the prescription drugs and I started using cannabis. And I used it for a period of time to help relieve my anxiety. It helped me get through some really tough moments.”
Now, Mace hopes her legislation can help bring both parties together to end the war on pot. In addition to Amazon, the bill has support from NORML, a pro-pot legalization group, as well as the conservative Americans for Prosperity.
“There are Democrats that ran on this issue, and it hasn’t happened yet,” Mace said. “And it’s an issue that I campaigned on. And if I’m going to talk about the issue and tell you I care about it … then I better do something about it.”