Signals suggest that the new 117th United States Congress will be much more receptive to federal cannabis reform. On Jan. 25, recently promoted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who replaced Senator Mitch McConnell, said cannabis would be a top priority in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
Senator Schumer said the federal cannabis reform was a matter of both racial and economic justice and could not be delayed further. “A young man is arrested with a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. He has a criminal record for the rest of his life, cannot become a productive citizen – he will not hire him who will not hire him. Change that, ”he said told MSNBC. “There’s a lot to do and we have to be successful.”
Additionally, in a separate interview with Al Harrington of Viola Brands, Schumer said Congress was in the process of pulling together a number of bills, including its own legalization bill, according to Marijuana Moment.
Former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was known for stalling Senate bills – including critical cannabis reform bills that were otherwise more advanced than ever at the federal level. As federal cannabis reform laws like
The heads of state and government at NORML believe that federal cannabis reform will have a much better chance during the new administration. “With Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is now the first upper chamber leader to ever publicly endorse the end of the federal marijuana ban, he has made multiple commitments to advance legislation to lift the federal criminalization of cannabis.” wrote NORML Political Director Justin Strekal in a statement for The hill.
As Strekal pointed out, Schumer introduced his own standalone cannabis reform legislation in the past, including the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Actand the house went by Marihuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019.
As power shifts, the Senate Finance Committee is chaired by Senator Ron Wyden, who is passionate about cannabis legalization. The good news is that both houses of Congress have shifted, making it more likely that they will pass critical federal cannabis reform laws.