Earlier this week, first reported by Marijuana Moment, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reiterated his support for ending marijuana criminalization to Rachel Maddow of MSNBC as part of the foundational “three stools” of policy to address in this session of Congress.
Last October, Schumer said that he “will put [legislation] in play” if the Democrats gain majority control of the Senate. Specifically, Schumer spoke of the prospects of advancing legislation he has co-sponsored, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, which deschedules cannabis and provides grant funding to encourage states to review and expunge past marijuana convictions. “I think we’ll have a good chance to pass that [legislation,]” he said at the time.
With the recent election of the the majority-making Georgia Senators both favoring the end of marijuana criminalization, it only increases the political pressure for action in this Congress.
In describing the impetus for including marijuana policy reform as part of the priority agenda, Leader Schumer was characterizing it as a matter of 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 said. “There’s lots to do, and we have to succeed.”
You can read and share NORML Political Director Justin Strekal’s recent op-ed in The Hill Newspaper entitled What the shift in Senate control means for marijuana policy reform for more context on what is possible in the Senate this Congress.