Senate minority leader Schumer wants to let states regulate marijuana

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Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York is the latest to join the federal cannabis reform bandwagon, saying he plans to introduce legislation that will remove marijuana from the controlled substances list and allow states to decide how to regulate MJ.

“Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do,” Schumer said in an interview Thursday with Vice News.

“If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?”

His bill, expected to be introduced later this month, could be similar to House Bill 1227 – aka “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” – which was introduced last year by Rep. Tom Garrett, a Virginia Republican.

Garrett’s bill has 33 co-sponsors, including 18 new ones since the first of the year.

What might make Schumer’s bill different, though, is that it will also call for funding for minority- and women-owned MJ businesses as well as cannabis research.

Schumer’s announcement comes as federal marijuana reform gets another bipartisan burst of energy:

  • President Trump last week personally expressed his support to Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado of a states’ rights legislative approach, and a bill from Gardner is expected in the near future.
  • The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, sponsored a hemp legalization bill that has been fast-tracked for debate in the full Senate.
  • Former House speaker John Boehner announced that he’s joined the board of a cannabis company and is also calling for federal reform.