The Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a recent interview that if the Democrats retake the Senate, he will prioritise the legalisation of marijuana.
Sen. Schumer was interviewed on Green Enterprise late last week, in it he laid out his plans for his cannabis reform bill. It looks like it will take a liberal approach to marijuana by rescheduling the plant at a federal level, fund attempts to clear the criminal records of those people who have been unjustly affected by outdated cannabis legislation, and invest the tax revenue gained from the legalised pot into communities that have been the hardest hit by the illegitimate war on drugs.
It looks like the successful state-level legislation introduced to legalise cannabis has proven that it could work on the national stage,
“I’m a big fighter for racial justice, and the marijuana laws have been one of the biggest examples of racial injustice, and so to change them makes sense and that fits in with all of the movement now to bring equality in the policing, in economics and in everything else. Our bill is, in a certain sense, at the nexus of racial justice, individual freedom and states’ rights.”
The legislation was first announced in 2018 and it was titled the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act. If the Democrats retake the Senate and he is installed as the senate majority leader, he plans to introduce the bill.
“If I become majority leader, I put this on the floor and it’s likely to pass. So, how do I become majority leader? Well, this is a little political you’ll forgive me, Andrew, but back to the facts, you vote for a Democratic senator in your state, that’s going to make it happen,” he said. “Vote if you believe in reform here, if you believe in decriminalizing cannabis. The thing to do is vote for your Democratic Senate candidate because they’ll be part of my team to get this done.”
While Schumer and other top-level democrats have taken some criticism lately, for the past few years Schumer has been a staunch ally of the legalisation movement.
Last year he sided with marijuana advocates who believed that a bill to protect US banks who took part in the cannabis industry was not enough.
“Congress should not enact banking reform alone and think the job is done. We need decriminalization at the federal level, criminal justice reform, and investment in opportunity for minority & women-owned small businesses.”
It doesn’t hurt the cause of legalisation that the recent state level votes to legalise pot have shown that, at least for liberal politicians, the best way to gain wide public support is to promote bills legalising marijuana. If the five states that currently have legalisation votes on their ballot are successful, we could see even more national support for the legalisation of marijuana.