Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced today that he would be introducing legislation in the US Senate to decriminalize cannabis on a federal level. Schumer’s plan basically consists of removing cannabis from the list of controlled substances listed in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This would considerably lighten the penalties for getting caught with cannabis, and “encourage more efforts to legalize it at the state level,” CNBC reports.
“The time has come to decriminalize marijuana,” Schumer said in a statement Thursday. “My thinking – as well as the general population’s views – on the issue has evolved, and so I believe there’s no better time than the present to get this done. It’s simply the right thing to do,” he told reporters.
Schumer claims to have evolved on the issue. He’s not the only one. Last week, former Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that he too had evolved on the issue and would be joining the advisory board of Acreage, one of the largest cannabis companies in the country.
Even if Schumer’s decriminalization bill doesn’t make it anywhere (which is highly likely), it’s still an important sign of things to come. The midterm elections are coming up in a few months and there are a lot of seats that are up for grabs. Sitting politicians are realizing that cannabis is a winning policy position. After all, it worked for New Jersey governor Phil Murphy when he ran last year. Schumer knows what’s going on. Even if his bill fails, he looks like a hero for pushing it.
So far the bill has a large amount of support from Democrats and some Republicans. It may end up passing the Senate, after all. Such a bill would be almost impossible to get through the US House, which is pretty much filled to the brim with hostile Republicans. Regardless, it seems as though the Democrats are finally embracing a winning strategy: cannabis. Will it pay off?
Image Source: Wall Street Journal
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