When New York Senator Chuck Schumer, then Senate Minority Leader, started touting cannabis legalization by introducing a descheduling bill on 4/20 back in 2018, it could simultaneously be seen as a great step forward for the cannabis community and a political ploy to gain votes. It can be easy for members of the minority party to tout popular policies to earn votes, it’s another thing to actually fight for those policies when you are in the majority and have the power to bring legislation to the floor. Now that Sen. Schumer is officially majority leader, it’s time for him to put up and on us to force him to follow through with his promise. While you can’t take anything for granted in politics, it’s a good sign that the Senate Majority Leader mentioned cannabis when discussing his top priorities on the Rachel Maddow Show.
Marijuana Moment reported:
In his first public comments on cannabis policy since Democrats reclaimed the majority and put him in the top leadership position, Schumer said federal marijuana reform will be part of a racial justice agenda that lawmakers will pursue in the 117th Congress. It’s a signal to advocates that the senator’s pre-election commitments to advancing legalization were not simply political bluster.
Schumer said that when it comes to marijuana reform, the issue intersects with both racial and economic justice.
“A young man is arrested with a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. He has a criminal record the rest of his life, can’t become a productive citizen—this one won’t hire him, that won’t hire him. Change that,” he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “There’s lots to do, and we have to succeed.”
Removing cannabis from the list of controlled substances, as Sen. Schumer has introduced in the past, is the best path forward for the cannabis community and industry, much better than rescheduling. Congress obviously has a lot of important issues to tackle as our nation tries to emerge from the consequences of a raging pandemic, but ending cannabis prohibition should be a priority as it intersects a lot of issues. As Schumer noted to Rachel Maddow, the war on cannabis harms both racial and economic equality. Ending arrests and imprisonments while also generating jobs and revenue is a serious win-win-win for the United States of America. It’s time for our elected officials to catch up with the will of the people.