Congressional Democrats Tout Marijuana Legalization Vote As Key Civil Rights Win In 2020

Efforts to legalize marijuana at the federal level could move forward in the next Congress, even if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remains in control. This emerges from a surprising view of the panel’s leading democratic legislature.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said if Democrats control the chamber and he replaces McConnell as majority leader, he will comply with legalization laws. But even if that doesn’t work, he predicted, there are still opportunities for reform under GOP rule.

“It will go much faster,” said Schumer, when he is used as the majority leader himself. “But when it comes to marijuana, I believe that – God forbid – I am not a majority leader. I believe the pressure on McConnell will increase and we could make some progress.”

The minority leader’s comments came on a video chat with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, in which the two lawmakers explained the importance of legalization, the evolving policy of cannabis and the need for social Justice discussed the industry.

While the House passed federal marijuana legalization bills earlier this month, McConnell’s Republican-controlled Senate declined to include it – or any other key cannabis bills – for scrutiny. Proponents have emphasized that the fate of the reform rests largely on the outcome of two Senate runoff elections in Georgia next week that will determine which party will control the Senate.

“Like so many other things, two words stand in the way here: Mitch McConnell,” Schumer said in the new web chat his office published on Wednesday night. “As long as he is the majority leader, it will be very difficult if we don’t put enormous public pressure on him to get this bill down.”

“When I become majority leader, I’ll put it on the floor and my guess, Hakeem, it’ll be over. It will get Democratic and Republican votes, ”the senator said, adding that voters in several Conservative states approved legalization campaigns in the November election.

“This thing is going in the right direction here in the house,” Jeffries said. We have seen libertarian, fairly conservative members of Congress on the Judiciary Committee and within the general panel saying this is the right thing to do. “

Schumer pointed out that despite the increasing legalization of more states, there had not been a “Parade of the Terrible” that opponents claimed would take place.

“Crime has not increased. There has been no increase in the number of people becoming addicted to drugs, ”he said. “People have used marijuana in their spare time, enjoyed it, nothing bad has happened and we can have more freedom and nothing bad happens. Why not?”

Jeffries added that as the federal government legalizes and regulates cannabis, lawmakers “will be in an excellent position to address potential public health and safety concerns”.

“We look at this broadly. We’re looking at that for the future, ”said Schumer. “And look, I’m a natural optimist, but given the trends in America and what we’ve seen in the states that have legalized and decriminalized, I think it is inevitable that laws like our proposal for law are inevitable of the country will be the not too distant future. “

He added that “the future is bright” for the marijuana law he and Jeffries tabled in their respective chambers, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act. This is not the same piece of legislation that the House passed, but it shares the main goal of ending the ban and repairing the damage caused by ban enforcement.

However, reforms are not all about racial justice and civil liberties. It’s also a “major economic problem,” said Schumer. “It’s all tied together.”

The Senate Democrat chief made similar remarks in October, stating that “the federal marijuana laws have been one of the greatest examples of racial injustice and so it makes sense to change them.”

If he is reinstated as chairman of the Senate majority, the top Democrat said he would “bring into play” his legalization law, adding, “I think we have a good chance of getting it passed.”

The senator has become a strong ally for major cannabis reform. Last year, for example, he was on the side of proponents who argued that passing a law to protect banks serving the marijuana industry was not enough.

Schumer is also a champion of the hemp industry, particularly in New York. Speaking at an event at a hemp store last year, he said the state was particularly well positioned to take advantage of the crop’s legal status, stating, “Our soil, weather, and conditions are very good for industrial hemp, so we’re one could become the centers of growth. “

Also at the event, he called on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend a public comment period on the proposed hemp regulations, citing concerns about certain prohibition rules. The federal authority has reopened the feedback window this year.

New York lawmakers roll out eight marijuana bills for 2021 as the state pushes legalization

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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