Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats will move forward with comprehensive marijuana reform regardless of whether President Joe Biden embraces the idea.
“He said he’s studying the issue, so (I) obviously want to give him a little time to study it,” Schumer said in an interview with Politico.
“I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will. But at some point, we’re going to move forward, period.”
Schumer, of New York, is working with fellow Democrats Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon on a major marijuana reform bill that Schumer said will be unveiled “soon.”
He said the bill’s proponents then would sit down with those who are opposed, listen to their objections and “try to educate them.”
While Schumer favors a comprehensive approach to marijuana reform, experts say a cannabis banking measure is more likely to be passed this year. That would enable financial institutions to serve the marijuana industry without fear of prosecution.
Biden has been less than enthusiastic about marijuana reform. The Democratic Party platform does support medical marijuana legalization but calls for MJ to be rescheduled rather than removing it entirely from the federal Controlled Substances Act.
Many in the cannabis industry were further disappointed recently when several White House staffers were asked to resign for admitting to past marijuana use. Others were suspended or told to work remotely, according to the Daily Beast.
Industry officials hope that Vice President Kamala Harris, who supported marijuana reform as a U.S. senator, ultimately might have influence on Biden.
Schumer told Politico he believes legalization of marijuana by states has “worked out remarkably well.”
“The parade of horribles never came about and people got more freedom,” he said.