Schumer ought to go on account, even when Biden is just not
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a strong proponent of marijuana legalization, stands ready to make substantial changes to federal law banning the use, sale, and manufacture of cannabis products – with or without the support of President Joe Biden.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden – a leading Democratic supporter of strict drug laws during his long Senate career – was the only leading lead Democratic candidate to oppose federal legalization of the facility. Further studies are required. While the president supports the legalization of the drug for medical use and the decriminalization of possession, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that Biden’s “position has not changed since the campaign on full legalization.”
Schumer told Politico that he respected Biden’s desire for more study on the matter, but said “we will go forward” even if the president’s view remains the same.
“He said he was studying the subject,” said the New York Democrat when asked if he would introduce a law to legalize it even if Biden opposed it. He added that he wanted to give the president “some time” to investigate the issue.
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“I would like to present my arguments to him, as do many other proponents,” Schumer told Politico. “But at some point we’ll move forward, period.”
Schumer passed a law to legalize it in 2018 and is working with Sens. Cory Booker, DN.J., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore, on laws to amend federal marijuana laws. Schumer has not yet revealed the contents of the new bill, and it is unclear whether the legislation would include full federal legalization or a more modest move toward decriminalization, which Biden may be more likely to support.
Schumer told reporters on Wednesday, “I support decriminalization at the federal level and we will be introducing legislation with some of my colleagues shortly.” When asked about legalization, Schumer implied that the two terms were the same: “At the federal level, it’s called decriminalization because it lets states legalize it.”
When asked by Politico whether the new legislation provides for legalization or decriminalization, Schumer said: “I am personally in favor of legalization. And the bill that we are going to introduce goes in that direction.
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“I don’t want to go into the details of our bill. You’ll have to wait and see,” Schumer said, although he indicated that it would include a provision to remove convictions of federal marijuana from people’s criminal records. Schumer also said he would support urging states to similarly clear criminal records through federal “incentives and misdirection”.
Schumer, whose home state New York legalized marijuana last week, told Politico that his own position on the matter “developed” after seeing the success of the first states to approve recreational use of the drug.
“When some of the early states – Oregon and Colorado – wanted to legalize, all opponents spoke of the Horrible Parade: Crime would go up. Drug use would go up. Anything bad would happen,” Schumer said. “The Parade of the Terrible never took place and people were given more freedom. And the people in these states seem very happy.”
Legalization advocates have welcomed Schumer’s commitment to legalization.
“With the promise to move ahead with marijuana reform, Majority Leader Schumer represents not only the will of the 70% of Americans who now support full legalization, but also the 40% or more of them who currently live in states that already do so Is reality. ” Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law, said USA TODAY in a statement.
“President Biden must join Schumer and the American people on the right side of history, and unless he works with them to seek correction of this longstanding injustice, Congress should force its hand by passing laws to end our failed ban . ” on his desk as soon as possible, “said Altieri.
Vice President Kamala Harris supported the legalization of marijuana as a member of the Senate. When asked if he had spoken to Harris about the proposed legislation, Schumer said, “We’d like to include them, but we haven’t done it yet.”
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