Tag: Chuck Schumer

Congress Poised to Act on Cannabis as Over 40% of Americans Live in Legal States

With New York, Virginia, and New Mexico joining the growing number of states that have voted to legalize cannabis for adult use, over 40% of Americans now reside in states that have swept Reefer Madness prohibition into the dustbin of history where it belongs. When you add the residents of the North Mariana Islands, Guam, and Washington, D.C., over 141 million of Americans of our roughly 328 million citizens now reside where legalization has passed, more than 43% of the total population. Another 15 states and the US Virgin Islands have decriminalized, so it isn’t surprising that 75% of voters either want Uncle Sam to legalize federally or want states to have the right to determine their own destiny on the subject. Only 25% want cannabis to be illegal everywhere. The Reefer Madness Prohibition Fan Club is getting smaller by the day. Now, finally, it appears that Congress will act on a legalization bill in soon. Senate President Chuck Schumer explained to Politico:

In 2018, I was the first member of the Democratic leadership to come out in support of ending the federal prohibition. I’m sure you ask, “Well what changed?” Well, my thinking evolved. When a few of the early states — Oregon and Colorado — wanted to legalize, all the opponents talked about the parade of horribles: Crime would go up. Drug use would go up. Everything bad would happen.

The legalization of states worked out remarkably well. They were a great success. The parade of horribles never came about, and people got more freedom. And people in those states seem very happy.

I think the American people started speaking with a clear message— more than two to one — that they want the law changed. When a state like South Dakota votes by referendum to legalize, you know something is out there.

I love the fact that Senator Schumer touts the experiences of Oregon and Colorado as why his thinking on cannabis evolved, especially when the predictions of the Reefer Madness Chicken Littles, that proclaimed the sky was gonna fall, didn’t come to fruition. Interestingly, Oregon’s own Ron Wyden has been named as a senator that Schumer will be working with when the Senate moves forward on legalization. With legalization now a mainstream political position with supermajority support, the Pete Ricketts of the world spouting nonsense about how Nebraskans will be killing their children if they allow medical marijuana, are going to get more desperate, so we must continue working hard to ensure that our representatives follow the will of the voters. We’re almost there. Step by step, state by state, freedom and common sense are on the march.

It’s always a great day to venture into Kind Leaf, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique, but if you’re into extracts, White Label Extracts are 50% every Saturday until May 1st. Come to beautiful Pendleton, stop into Kind Leaf, peruse from the best selection in the Great Northwest, and every purchase continues to show the powers that be in Washington, D.C., that it’s time to end the federal war on the cannabis community. As always, there are discounts for senior citizens, military veterans, and OMMP patients.

More than Just a Promise for Votes and Money: Congress Needs to to Deliver on Cannabis

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been saying all of the right things on cannabis ever since he first introduced a bill to end federal prohibition on April 20th, 2018. Legalization has proven to be a very popular policy with supermajority support. Cannabis reform was touted widely by Schumer, newly-elected Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff, and other Democrats as they gained control of the Senate for the first time in a decade, and now is the time to deliver. I’m not politically naive to believe that ending the failed and racist war on cannabis will be at the top of any politician’s list, but Schumer has stated that reforms are a part of the party’s economic and criminal justice platforms. As Marijuana Moment reported, Sen. Schumer recently sent out a fundraising email touting cannabis policy changes after climate change and economic inequality:

“Next is criminal justice reform—and voters agree,” he wrote. “Voters in four more states this election voted to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana, and that proves once again it’s past time to work to undo the harm done by misplaced priorities, particularly in Black and brown communities. It’s time to decriminalize marijuana nationally.”

Last month, the majority leader pledged that he, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) would release a draft bill to end federal marijuana prohibition “in the early part of this year.” The three senators followed that up by holding a meeting with cannabis reform groups to discuss the plan.

While it’s not clear what the draft Senate marijuana reform proposal will entail, or when it will be released, Schumer said lawmakers are in the process of merging various pieces of existing legislation.

Politicians make a lot of promises and no one can expect that they will keep them all, but you can’t blame voters for being disillusioned when you make a promise, tout that promise, fundraise off of that promise, and then don’t deliver when you are given the power and opportunity to do so. With the Senate split 50-50 and a Democrat or two potentially being squishy on legalization, Schumer may need to reach across the aisle to Rand Paul, who has been libertarian-minded on cannabis policy (maybe not as good as his father Ron, but still) or a Republican like Lisa Murkowski who represents a state with legal cannabis to get things done. He better try. And if legalization is too big of a political lift, we best see cannabis banking services allowed via the SAFE Banking Act or put an end to the 280e IRS tax code that punished state-regulated cannabis businesses, especially small craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf. With the House expected to pass a version of the MORE Act again, the Senate will be put on the spot and if Senator Schumer’s promises turn out to be smoke and mirrors, well, his term as Senate Majority Leader will likely be a short one.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden Lays Out Cannabis Legalization Strategy

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised to pursue cannabis legalization if voters replaced Mitch McConnell, and it looks like he is going to attempt to follow through. Schumer announced that cannabis reform would be a piece of his economic and racial justice agenda and then stated that he would co-sponsor legalization legislation with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Oregon’s own Ron Wyden. Wyden, as Marijuana Moment reported, layed out the plan to have his Senate Finance Committee handle the cannabis reform agenda on The Source Weekly’s Bend Don’t Break podcast:

“This is a framework that I’ve championed, and I’ll be championing it as chairman,” he told The Source Weekly’s podcast Bend Don’t Break. “You do that and you take care of the banking question, you take care of the tax question, you take care of the research issue and this whole array of issues that have been gridlocked because the federal government on cannabis has been tethered to yesteryear. That has been the central problem.”

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While Wyden didn’t point to any specific bills in the podcast interview, there are numerous pieces of legislation that could fall within his committee’s jurisdiction. That includes comprehensive proposals to federally legalize cannabis that would involve imposing excise taxes on marijuana sales, for example. The Senate version of a House-passed bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war was referred to Finance last session but died without a hearing or a vote under Republican leadership.

The new chairman said that “it’s not enough in my view to just end cannabis prohibition, I think we need to restore the lives of people who’ve been hurt most by the failed war on drugs and especially black Americans.”

If the United States Senate was a purely democratic institution, where a simple majority can always move legislation (I know, crazy), federal cannabis prohibition would end within the next two years. Unfortunately, the Senate’s quirky filibuster rule, which allows one senator to force 60 votes to pass a bill, could derail legalization and the will of the American people. With over 2/3 of Americans now wanting to end the war on cannabis, it’s time for Uncle Sam to act accordingly.

Senate Majority Leader Says Cannabis Reform is a Top Priority

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.