‘Long past due’: Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman lead new push for federal cannabis legislation

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Seth Rogen appears in a video supporting federal cannabis legislation  (HeadCount)
Seth Rogen appears in a video supporting federal cannabis legislation (HeadCount)

Comedians Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman are among the celebrities starring in a new campaign that is calling for the legalisation of cannabis by Congress.

Called “Cannabis in Common”, the campaign asks US citizens to lobby their congressional representatives on the issue, and to remind them that “cannabis legalisation is incredibly popular with their constituents”.

The release of two campaign videos fearing Mr Rogen and Ms Silverman came amid reports that Republican congresswoman Nancy Mace was drafting a bill that – if approved – would decriminalise the drug and levy a 3.5 per cent tax on sales, as reported by Forbes.

Despite cannabis legislation being supported by 69 per cent of Americans, and in some form by as much as 91 per cent, calls for its decriminalisation have largely fallen by the wayside in Washington DC because of Republican opposition to such a move.

Recreational cannabis use is already permitted in about a third of US states and Washington DC, but it remains illegal at the federal level – which continues to complicate financial matters for those running firms on the back of cannabis profit.

In a video released on Tuesday, Mr Rogen remarked that cannabis legislation was, in fact, among the things that Americans can agree on, “despite what you may have heard” about partisanship in and out of Congress.

He continued by highlighting that “recent polls show more than two thirds of us now want to legalise cannabis”, but that less than half of all members of Congress have spoken out in favour of cannabis legalisation.

“In fact, some won’t even say where they stand on the issue at all,” said the actor and comedian, who has starred in Superbad, Pineapple Express, and Shrek The Third.

A similar argument was made by Ms Silverman, a former Saturday Night Live writer and performer, who called for Americans to lobby their congressional representatives on the issue.

She pointed out that without decriminalising federal laws on cannabis,“we’re settling for laws that disproportionately land people of colour in prison”.

Ms Silverman also highlighted that not legalising cannabis at the federal level wastes an opportunity to collect tax revenue from sales of cannabis – in the same way as with alcohol and cigarettes.

Ms Mace is expected to introduce her cannabis bill to the House later this month, with many Democrats – who have attempted to pass their own bill to decriminalise the drug – likely to back it.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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