The 4/20 celebrations came to a peak last week, with a couple of legislators making important projections about the future of marijuana decriminalization in the United States. On April 19, Sen. Bernie Sanders affirmed his support for the Marijuana Justice Act. On 4/20, a day after Bernie made his announcement, Sen. Chuck Schumer also declares that he will introduce legislation that aims at decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level.
Schumer’s View on Marijuana Legalization
Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader in New York raised some dust on 420, boldly stating his intention to introduce a new legislation that’s geared towards the decriminalization of marijuana. Noting that this will be the first time he supports any marijuana bill, Schumer cites an “evolved thinking” as being among the reasons for turning a corner on this one.
“The time has come to decriminalize marijuana,” Schumer said. “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. This legislation would let the states be the laboratories that they should be, ensure that women and minority owned business have a fair shot in the marijuana industry, invests in critical research on THC, and ensures that advertisers can’t target children – it’s a balanced approach. ”
What Schumer’s Pro-marijuana bill will do
Marijuana is currently a Schedule 1 substance. The bill is intended to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. It would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The legislation would also maintain the authority of federal law enforcements to prohibit pot trafficking from states that have legalized marijuana to states where pot is still considered illegal.
Schumer believes that this pro-marijuana bill will level the economic playing field with the establishment of dedicated funding streams for women and minority-owned marijuana businesses. The legislation takes public health into consideration. It will invest in research that would provide deeper knowledge on how THC affects the brain, and the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for specific health conditions.
The legislation would arouse investments in highway safety research. Public safety would be ensured as federal agencies will have access to the resources they need to evaluate the risks of driving under the influence of THC, and develop a technology that will reliably measure drivers’ impairment.
The legislation would also protect children by maintaining federal authority to regulate marijuana advertising. The regulatory process would be similar to those of alcohol and tobacco advertising. This would ensure that marijuana businesses do not have the permission to target children in their product campaigns.
Other Lawmakers Support Schumer on Marijuana Legalization
After Schumer made the announcement, his views were buffered by, Sen. Corry Booker. Booker is the author of landmark Marijuana Justice Act which was introduced last summer. He was reported saying that “Senator Schumer’s announcement… is an important step forward that broadens the base of support for fixing our nation’s broken drug laws. He’s on the right side of history and I am increasingly confident that more and more elected officials will join the common sense call to tear down the failed and destructive War on Drugs. I applaud Senator Schumer’s announcement, and particularly appreciate his focus on investing in the communities most impacted by marijuana prohibition.”
What Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act proposes is not limited to the removal of pot from the list of controlled substances. It would allow States to have access to funds and incentives from the federal government, enabling them to change or adjust laws to benefit low income earners and non-White citizens.
“Here is the simple truth: Blacks and whites have similar rates of marijuana use, but black people are far more likely to be arrested for it. Last year, about 600,000 people were arrested for possession of marijuana. Many of those people, disproportionately people of color, have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That has got to change,” Sanders said.
“As I talked about during my campaign, we must end the absurd situation of marijuana being listed as a Schedule 1 drug alongside heroin. It is time to decriminalize marijuana, as many states have already done, and end the failed war on drugs. We must invest in jobs and education, not more jails and incarceration.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado who’s one of the most active pro-cannabis advocates in the Republican Party, announced that he made a deal with President Trump. He claims this deal would bring an end to the incessant conflicts between state and federal marijuana law now currently going on in most of the country.
One of the campaign promises of President Trump is that he will support the rights of individual states to decide for themselves how they want to address marijuana issues. Confident of the deal he made with the White House, Gardner boldly states that the President has assured him that “he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”