UP IN SMOKE: Schumer Moves to LEGALIZE Marijuana Nationwide

Glen Mclaughlin
April 22, 2018

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of NY called Friday for decriminalizing marijuana, the highest-ranking federal lawmaker to support changing the federal laws against the drug.

"Removing cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act will allow states to continue to successfully regulate cannabis, undermine criminal markets, create new economic opportunities, and will pave the way to much-needed research into the therapeutic potential of cannabis", (NCIA) Executive Director, Aaron Smith, stated in response to the announcement. The leading Senate Democrat also suggested that his bill would also respect states' rights to prevent the federal government from cracking down on states that have legalized marijuana. To drive home that point, Schumer also agreed to sign a bong.

Given that background, it's not surprising that Schumer came late to the marijuana reform movement.

Just last week, forer House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced he was joining the board of a marijuana company, and would be making strides towards helping pass legalization policies, with the goal of overturning a lifetime of strong opposition to this incredible plant.

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Marijuana legalization, which spent years as a fringe political cause, has become increasingly popular with all voters and increasingly embraced by Democrats. Colorado voted to legalize it in 2012, and both states are enjoying the sharp increase in revenue that it has given. Previously, Attorney General Jeff Sessions voided an Obama memorandum to not aggressively prosecute marijuana-related charges. Besides claiming that "reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men" he also asserted that "most" marijuana smokers in the US were "Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos", and entertainers. (The federal government says marijuana is illegal.) Trump's position on reconciling the different laws was vague before this.

If the bill passes, it is good news for marijuana businesses across the country. On Thursday, Vermont Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is already a co-sponsor. And Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat and, like Sanders, a possible 2020 presidential candidate, recently introduced his own marijuana decriminalization bill.

Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana for recreational use. To that end, some states like California have taken steps to rectify the racial disparagement and clear marijuana convictions that have been used as a tool to put mostly black offenders behind bars, some for decades.

In Michigan, Republican lawmakers are considering legalizing recreational marijuana rather than letting an initiative that's gaining steam make the ballot this fall. The Associated Press reported that a group of US health experts on Thursday endorsed the use of a medicine made from the marijuana plant to treat seizures in children.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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