Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Vice News on Thursday that he plans to introduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana nationwide, saying “ultimately, it’s the right thing to do. Freedom.”
The legislation, which is expected to be released next week, would remove marijuana from Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances, therefore ending federal prohibition. The bill would also give states the authority over how to regulate the drug.
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“The legislation is long overdue based on, you know, a bunch of different facts,” Schumer said. “I’ve seen too many people’s lives ruined because they had small amounts of marijuana and served time in jail much too long.”
“If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal,” he added.
Schumer told Vice that his bill would allow the federal government to “regulate marijuana advertising in the same way it does alcohol and tobacco,” ensuring the industry does not target children with ads.
The Hill added:
Schumer would not be the first Democratic senator to push for looser federal marijuana policies.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act in August. That legislation would eliminate marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substance Act and require federal courts to expunge the records of Americans who have prior marijuana convictions related to use or possession.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have all expressed support for the Marijuana Justice Act. A matching bill in the House also has more than 20 cosponsors.