Legalization at a federal level is long overdue and it seems that an overwhelming amount of Americans agree. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been one of the three senators pushing for cannabis legalization in an attempt to finally remove it as a Schedule I drug. He, alongside Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), revealed a 163-page draft of the cannabis reform legislation, so hopefully, no one will have to fear lighting up a blunt wrap in public again.
Schumer revealed that he’s modifying the legislation with feedback from both the public and his colleagues. An email was launched where the public can share their thoughts on the bill and legalization as a whole. During an appearance on The View, Schumer explained that he’s taking all suggestions and requests for “modifications” into consideration, especially legalization is “so, so overwhelmingly supported by the American people.”
“We’re now going around to our colleagues saying, ‘Would you sign onto the bill? And if you don’t like what’s in the bill and want some modifications, tell us,’” said Schumer.
And by taking into consideration everyone’s thoughts and concerns, Schumer anticipates getting bipartisan support on the legislation.
“Marijuana has been over criminalized at the federal level. It’s treated like heroin or cocaine. Very much more serious drugs,” Schumer told The View. “Even worse, we have a person who has a small amount of marijuana—a young person—in their pocket [they] can get arrested, have a such a serious criminal record as if they were selling a whole lot of heroin [and] they can almost never recover.”
There are a few concerns that have arisen from the draft legislation. Senator Booker has emphasized the need to prioritize cannabis reform before protecting banks in states that allow legal marijuana businesses. Though investors and stakeholders in cannabis companies have criticized Booker’s stance on legalizing, the New Jersey Senator explained that holding off on the vote for banking reform could help push for more thorough legislation.
“First we want to legalize it to make sure that the people who want to use it can use it without this over-criminalization,” Schumer continued to tell the talk show. “Secondly, we want to expunge records of people who had a small amount of marijuana in their pockets and are then hurt the rest of their lives. We’d love them to be productive citizens.”