If Senate Democrats have their way, there may be sweeping changes to Schedule I illegal drugs in the United States in the next year.
On Tuesday, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would work to legalize marijuana over the next year.
President Joe Biden’s White House came forward that same day and signaled their support for nationwide changes in the drug laws.
“It’s as appropriate a time as any to take a look at our laws that have over-criminalized the use of marijuana and put it on a par with heroin, LSD, and other narcotics that bear little or no resemblance in their effects either on individuals or on society more broadly,” Schumer said. “The war on drugs has too often been a war on people — particularly people of color.”
Schumer said he was working with Sens. Ron Wyden, D-O.R., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., to end federal prohibition of the drug.
“Hopefully the next time this unofficial holiday 4/20 rolls around, our country will have made progress in addressing the massive over-criminalization of marijuana in a meaningful and comprehensive way,” Schumer said.
“I believe the time has come to end the federal prohibition on marijuana in this country, and I’m working with Sens. Booker and Wyden on legislation to do just that,” he said.[Sponsored] ATTN: How to Re-Grow Your Hair
Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, said at a press conference that Biden supports legalization as a state’s rights issue, but wants to more broadly recategorize the narcotic as a Schedule II drug and decriminalize its use.
“The president supports leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts and, at the federal level, he supports decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records,” Psaki said during a press briefing at the White House.
“He also supports legalizing medicinal marijuana, so that’s his point of view on the issue,” she said.
Despite Schumer’s promise, there is currently insufficient support to pass decriminalization through the Senate.
“Everything seems like it’s moving in that direction,” Sen Joe Machin, D-W.V., said about his support for nationwide legalization. “But right now, we’re not there.”
Schumer tweeted a message on Tuesday in celebration of 4/20 — an unofficial day for marijuana smokers to indulge in the substance.
From the Senate Majority Leader.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 20, 2021