Schumer announces support for pot decriminalization

Clay Curtis
April 21, 2018

According to Schumer's office, under the new bill, marijuana would be removed from the list of substances classified under the Controlled Substances Act. "Ultimately, it is the right thing to do".

New York's junior Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, earlier this year signed on to a separate bill by New Jersey Senator Corey Booker that would go even further in legalizing the drug. He acknowledges the current push for legalization in NY, but says he simply sees it as what should be done.

Mr. Schumer said his bill would cut federal authorities out of the business of policing marijuana use - but it would not change states where possession or use of the drug is still illegal.

Sanders said, "The president is a firm believer" in states' rights.

Schumer is introducing separate legislation on Friday - a date, April 20 or 4/20, that is an unofficial holiday for marijuana users.

In New York, Schumer's home state, the actress Cynthia Nixon is running an insurgent primary campaign against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the incumbent, based in part on her support for legalizing marijuana.

"If smoking marijuana doesn't hurt anybody else, why shouldn't we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?" he told the news outlet. This is in order to ensure companies are not directing ads toward juveniles.

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Schumer's bill will also "inject real dollars into minority and women-owned businesses" to try to offset the racialized nature of marijuana arrests, he said.

Schumer, 67, was asked whether he has ever smoked marijuana, and he said no.

While Schumer, who was elected to the Senate two decades ago, has been supportive of medicinal marijuana, he has now "evolved" his thinking on recreational marijuana.

"I think we're going down a risky road to be continuing to advocate for all this open marijuana use", said Rep. Claudia Tenny, R-New York. "It seems as if both parties may have finally realised just how popular marijuana legalisation is with voters and are afraid of the other party stealing the issue".

Across the aisle, liberal lawmakers are likewise flocking to co-sponsor bills to roll back marijuana restrictions.

Schumer has also gotten behind a campaign to restore "net neutrality", regulation that would prevent internet service providers from skewing the prices or download speeds for certain kinds of data.

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