Schumer lends clout to marijuana legalization pushPosted by On


WASHINGTON — The Senate’s top Democrat is backing a bill that would strike down a long-standing federal prohibition on marijuana, embracing a proposal that has slim chance of becoming law yet demonstrates growing public support for decriminalizing the drug.

Proposals to legalize marijuana are nothing new. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is a sponsor of the effort unveiled Wednesday, underscoring how a once-fringe idea is increasingly mainstream. The measure would erode a central pillar of the decades-long war on drugs, which has disproportionately affected communities of color in the United States.

“I will use my clout as majority leader to make this a priority in the Senate,” said Schumer, of New York, who is the first Senate leader to support such an effort. “It’s not just an idea whose time has come, it’s long overdue.”

The bill would treat marijuana much like alcohol or tobacco, allowing it to be taxed and regulated. States could still outlaw its use. And those under the age of 21 couldn’t purchase it. It would remain illegal to sell significant quantities without proper licensing and authorization, much like bootlegging alcohol. It would also clear the path for additional cannabis medical research.

But besides clearing obstacles to recreational use, advocates say the bill would help the poor and those from communities of color who have disproportionately been arrested, charged and jailed for marijuana crimes.

The…

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WASHINGTON — The Senate’s top Democrat is backing a bill that would strike down a long-standing federal prohibition on marijuana, embracing a proposal that has slim chance of becoming law yet demonstrates growing public support for decriminalizing the drug.

Proposals to legalize marijuana are nothing new. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is a sponsor of the effort unveiled Wednesday, underscoring how a once-fringe idea is increasingly mainstream. The measure would erode a central pillar of the decades-long war on drugs, which has disproportionately affected communities of color in the United States.

“I will use my clout as majority leader to make this a priority in the Senate,” said Schumer, of New York, who is the first Senate leader to support such an effort. “It’s not just an idea whose time has come, it’s long overdue.”

The bill would treat marijuana much like alcohol or tobacco, allowing it to be taxed and regulated. States could still outlaw its use. And those under the age of 21 couldn’t purchase it. It would remain illegal to sell significant quantities without proper licensing and authorization, much like bootlegging alcohol. It would also clear the path for additional cannabis medical research.

But besides clearing obstacles to recreational use, advocates say the bill would help the poor and those from communities of color who have disproportionately been arrested, charged and jailed for marijuana crimes.

The…



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