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Schumer Introduces Bill to Deschedule Cannabis to U.S. Senate

Chuck Schumer Cannabis Deschedule Marijuana Congress Cannabis Now
Photo Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now

Politics

Schumer Introduces Bill to Deschedule Cannabis to U.S. Senate

The Democratic senator from New York has introduced a bill to deschedule cannabis, thereby making it federally legal. His bill faces stiff competition in other cannabis bills now before Congress.

Following his announcement in April that he intended to file a marijuana deschedulalization bill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer this week filed the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act — where it is currently listed as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD.

Schumer’s bill now competes with the STATES Act put forward by Senators Cory Gardner of Illinois and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, which would allow states to regulate cannabis as they see fit. Schumer’s bill also competes with Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey’s Marijuana Justice Act, which not only would deschedule cannabis but also creates funding for communities impacted by the War on Drugs and wipes cannabis crimes from federal records.

Trump specifically backed the Gardner effort after the senator lifted his blockade of Department of Justice nominees. Gardner started that blockade early in the year in response to the move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind the Cole Memo, which previously had directed federal prosecutors not to target marijuana producers who were in compliance with state law.

In a statement on his new bill, Schumer noted it would allow states to continue to function as laboratories of democracy and ultimately decide how they will treat marijuana possession. His bill would not change federal authorities’ ability to prevent trafficking from states where marijuana is legal to states where is not. The bill also preserves the federal government’s ability to regulate marijuana advertising and would expunge cannabis records.

“The time to decriminalize marijuana is now,” said Schumer in a statement.

“The new Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is about giving states the freedom to be the laboratories that they should be and giving Americans — especially women and minority business owners as well as those convicted of simple possession of marijuana intended for personal use — the opportunity to succeed in today’s economy,” Schumer said.

Schumer’s Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is cosponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders, Tim Kaine and Tammy Duckworth.

The nation’s oldest marijuana reform organization, NORML, said that they were pleased with what the minority leader came up with in this new attempt to end cannabis prohibition, and welcomed the shift in policy from the Democratic party’s leadership.

“The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is comprehensive legislation that would end our nation’s failed 80-year prohibition of marijuana and allow states to implement reforms free from the threat of federal interference,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal in a statement.

Strekal said he was glad Schumer’s plan would go back to back to clean up some of the mess that marijuana prohibition has created.

“The importance of this bill’s emphasis on facilitating the expungement the criminal records of individuals for marijuana possession cannot be overstated,” said Strekal. “Millions of individuals have suffered from the lifelong collateral consequences of criminal prohibition, making it harder for them to find a job, obtain housing and access higher education.”

On the other side of Capitol Hill, the folks at the Marijuana Policy Project were equally pleased with what they were seeing from Schumer.

“This proposal is yet another sign that Congress is moving toward a major shift in U.S. marijuana policy,” said MPP Executive Director Matt Schweich, following the release of the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act. “Senate leaders from both parties have now signaled their support for ending prohibition at the federal level and adopting a system that respects state laws regulating marijuana for medical and adult use.”

In Schweich’s perspective, the debate is transitioning from whether marijuana should be legalized to how it should be legalized.

“There are still hurdles to overcome in Congress, just as there are for any other issue, but things are clearly headed in the right direction,” Schweich said. “A strong and growing majority of Americans think it is time to end marijuana prohibition, and states are moving quickly to develop their own marijuana policies. Members of Congress do not want to find themselves on the wrong side of history — or their constituents.”

TELL US, do you think Congress should legalize cannabis?

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. J

    June 30, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I think cannabis should be legalized completely for the reason of if it were then people could just grow there own weed we would see a near complete eradication of trafficking let’s be honest dealing with anyone in the idea of illegal substances is weird and I wasn’t born during prohibition but I imagine it was the same back then for those who don’t have the time or feel like growing there own plant sure the government can market it in the sales like they do in tobacco but at least the power would be in the hands of the people on whether or not they feel they’d rather grow there own pot also I feel that people would like to take a look at the ramifications of well how do I take into consideration of well how do I know one person isn’t growing 600 plants and looking to traffick all that weed to that I would say if anyone could grow and consume there own weed or just buy it at a store with a reasonable price legally why would anyone be inclined to deal on the streets effectively if you had 200-300 pounds or more it would seem like it would be more of a cool story bro type thing and if you ever got caught transporting it to another country or province where it is illegal sure… you knew you were in the process of somethics verrryyyy illegal

  2. Tammy

    June 29, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Legalize it! My husband’s company said he isn’t allowed to use even plain old CBD oil from the hemp plant, with almost unmeasurable THC, because it’s still illegal Federally. And most definitely isn’t allowed to use Medical Marijuana even though Florida approved it. Soon he will have to be on disability even though he doesn’t want to be because of his intense pain. He could get by with the CBD oil, but doesn’t want to risk his job. Cannabis “side effects” are much less than those of alcohol, yet we legalized alcohol. At least cannabis has health benefits! PLEASE legalize it and make it acceptable to those that need it.

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