Schumer touts marijuana legalization bill for entrepreneurs, not ‘big boys’

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said his federal marijuana legalization bill is modeled in part after New York’s and intended to provide opportunities to small businesses and minorities, not the “big boys.”

“We don’t want the big boys to come in after all the pain (incurred in communities during the war on drugs) … and make all the money. Makes no sense,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a conversation this week with the state’s Cannabis Control Board chair, Tremaine Wright.

The interview, posted on YouTube, was hosted by Green Enterprise, which is produced and operated by Black Enterprise and Digital Venture Partners.

Schumer emphasized that his proposed Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act is intended to ensure that smaller businesses and businesses of color have access to financial services and that revenue from federal marijuana taxes be reinvested in disadvantaged communities.

“We’re taking a page from New York’s book and trying to do basically what you did (at the national level),” he told Wright.

Schumer has worked with Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon on the legalization measure.

The proposed legislation is seen as a long shot in a Senate that has a 50-50 Democratic/Republican split.

But Schumer waxed optimistic.

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To those who have asked if there’s a chance to pass the measure, “the answer is yes,” Schumer said.

“We’re getting some Republican support, and the country is realizing that all the myths about marijuana are just that – myths.”

He noted that voters in one of the most conservative states in the country – South Dakota – legalized marijuana during the 2020 elections.

“If they can do it, everyone can do it,” Schumer said.

“I think we have a real shot, and we’re going to keep working at it until we get it done.”

– Jeff Smith