Chuck Schumer is back, saying a federal legalization bill is on the way
In New York’s monumental adult cannabis legalization this week, at least one federal politician is pondering when the U.S. will regulate the plant. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on Wednesday, “I support decriminalization at the federal level and we will be legislating with some of my colleagues shortly.”
With Mexico nearing legalization, the United States is on the verge of becoming the only North American country to comply with laws banning archaic cannabis.
The Senate majority leader evaded questions about whether he was personally in favor of federal legalization of the drug. “Decriminalization, legalization,” said Schumer when asked.
“At the federal level, it’s called ‘decriminalization’ because it allows states to legalize,” he continued.
Schumer evidently evades the question. First, decriminalization and legalization mean two very different things to law enforcement – and the DEA – that are likely to still arrest someone if caught moving pounds of weeds in a decriminalized landscape. We have seen this in recent history (even with psilocybin mushrooms in Denver after the city passed a decriminalization measure), even though “decriminalization” technically implies the elimination of jail time. Arrests don’t always result in jail bookings, however, but it’s never positive for the police to know who you are or what you’re up to.
Additionally, legalization rules out the possibility of penalty as long as purchases, sales, and cultivation are within legal limits or are made with proper licensing. Legalization also opens the door to a legal trading industry. So no – the terms are not interchangeable, Schumer.
Despite dancing around the question, Schumer wrote in a March fundraising email that legalizing cannabis is a top priority.
“Voters in four other states voted in this election to legalize recreational marijuana use by adults,” he wrote to decriminalize marijuana nationally. “
In February, Schumer and Senators Ron Wyden and Cory Booker hosted a meeting of cannabis advocates and industry representatives to consider what their federal legalization bill would look like.
Senators want to avoid repeating last year when the marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) bill in the Republican-controlled Senate failed to gain momentum after being approved by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
Despite the democratic control of both houses, it is unclear whether the legalization of cannabis will be completed this year. On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden’s opinion on marijuana legalization “has not changed”.
In the past, Biden has provided support for rescheduling marijuana and lifting penalties for possession of the drug.
His Vice President Kamala Harris was a co-sponsor of the MORE Act and promised at a town hall meeting in September: “Under a Biden Harris administration, we will decriminalize marijuana use and automatically erase all marijuana convictions and end incarceration for drug use only. This is not a time for half a step, this is not a time for incrementalism. We have to deal with the system. ”
The White House wooed anger in March when it announced that five employees had lost their jobs when they admitted to having used cannabis in the past. The president has indicated that his administration acted in line with policy – one he does not want to change until federal legalization becomes a reality.
Schumer’s similar statement of support for promoting the legalization of cannabis in February sparked a surge in cannabis stocks. Analysts said they fell again in March because of concerns about a legislative process that appeared to have stalled.