Three leading advocates of marijuana reform in Congress said Monday that the issue will be a priority in the new Democratic Senate this year and that they plan to release bills in the coming weeks to start a conversation on how to change the law Federal politics will look like.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said in a joint statement that ending the cannabis ban ” is necessary to correct the injustice of a failed war and an end to the decades of damage inflicted on color communities across the country, but that alone is not enough. “
Legislators, who have always advocated federal legalization, said that “we must also take action to raise people who were wrongly targeted in the war on drugs,” especially if more states are in favor of legalization decide. “We are determined to work together to propose and advance comprehensive cannabis reform laws that will not only turn this sad chapter of American history on its head, but also undo the devastating consequences of these discriminatory policies,” they said. “The Senate will make considering these reforms a priority.”
This is a narrative built up over the past few months, with Schumer saying on multiple occasions, both before and after the elections, that he will work to push reform legislation with his new power to oversee the Senate agenda. Now that the Democrats have secured a majority in the Chamber, the stage is set for action.
Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana legalization
“Earlier this year, we will publish a unified draft discussion on major reforms to ensure restorative justice, protect public health, and implement responsible taxes and regulations,” the senators said. “Obtaining input from stakeholders will be an important part of developing this critical piece of legislation.”
The House clarified a bill to abolish cannabis at the federal level last year, but made no progress in the GOP-controlled Senate. Legislators like Schumer and Booker stressed that the Democrats’ demand for a majority in the chamber was essential for comprehensive reform this year. “After years of marijuana policy, reform has been neglected and ridiculed [Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)] It is encouraging to see these Senate leaders working together to lift the pointless and cruel policy of marijuana prohibition, ”said Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director.
“We look forward to working constructively with the leaders of Congress, other organizations, and the communities hardest hit by criminalization in the past to ensure we draft the strongest and most comprehensive bill to address the wrongs of the nearly centenarian.” Federal to correct cannabis ban, “he said.
Legal marijuana enthusiasts
MP Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who has worked for decades to end the marijuana ban and is co-chair of the cannabis caucus of Congress, said in a press release that he believes the new majority of the Senate “is ready to move forward together to promote comprehensive cannabis legislation. “
He added that the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) law passed by the House to legalize marijuana is “a great foundation” for reform in the 117th Congress. The new legislation would likely be sent to the Wyden Panel, the Senate Finance Committee, to consider once it was introduced.
“We look forward to working with the Senate to refine the law, advance its basic principles and end the federal cannabis ban once and for all,” said Blumenauer. “The missing ingredient in cannabis reform was the Senate’s action. Having the active leadership of the new Senate majority leader rather than being stuck in McConnell’s legislative cemetery makes all the difference in the world. “
Medical and Recreational Marijuana Movement in America
Recent comments from Schumer, the House majority leader, suggest that any bill tabled will likely contain pieces of several bills from the last Congress that he said will be actively merged. Under the control of the Democrats, lawyers and lawmakers prepare for a barrage of marijuana reform proposals that could take action and find their way to President Joe Biden’s desk.
While the president does not support full legalization and only supports relatively modest cannabis reforms, proponents hope he would not veto or attempt to undermine extensive marijuana legislation that Congress leaders seek to prioritize.
Back in 2021, two marijuana bills were tabled for Congress: one to move cannabis from Appendix I to Appendix III of the Controlled Substances Act, and another to prevent the U.S. Department of Veterans from refusing veterans services just because they use medical marijuana in accordance with these state law.
The Complete Joint Statement on Medical and Recreational Marijuana Reform
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Cory Booker, DN.J., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., And Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., made the following joint statement at the 117th Congress on Comprehensive Cannabis Reform Legislation :
“The war on drugs was a war against people – especially people with color. Ending the federal marijuana ban is necessary to eradicate the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of damage inflicted on color communities across the country. But that alone is not enough. As states continue to legalize marijuana, we must also take action to collect people who were wrongly targeted in the war on drugs, ”he explains.
“We are determined to work together to propose and advance comprehensive cannabis reform laws that will not only turn this sad chapter of American history on its head, but also undo the devastating consequences of these discriminatory policies. The Senate will make considering these reforms a priority, ”he continues.
“Earlier this year, we will publish a unified draft discussion on major reforms to ensure restorative justice, protect public health, and implement responsible taxes and regulations. Obtaining input from stakeholders will be an important part of developing this critical legislation ”and ends there.
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