Sen. Chuck Schumer said that he would be introducing a marijuana bill “shortly,” one that would not only legalize the drug but would expunge past records.
“Here’s the immediate time frame,” the New York Democrat told podcast host and former South Carolina representative Bakari Sellers. “The three people working on a comprehensive bill are myself, Senator [Ron] Wyden and Senator [Corey] Booker, and we will be introducing our bill shortly.”
“It is not just legalization but a deal for the injustices of the past expungement of the records making sure that the money that’s made from marijuana goes to the communities, communities of color, poor people communities, that have paid the price for this ridiculous scheduling of marijuana,” Schumer said.
“We’re going to get some support from the right on this, we hope,” Schumer continued. “It’s going to take a little while, we’re going to need a mass campaign, but there’s real excitement in the country to do this right now.”
Asked last month if the president could support the forthcoming bill, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden’s position hasn’t changed, and he supports “decriminalization.”
The House passed legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level in December, the first time either chamber ever voted to do so.
New York became the 16th state to legalize cannabis at the end of March, and New Mexico is expected to do so soon.
The November elections were a massive success for proponents of legal marijuana, with five states moving via ballot initiatives to legalize pot in either recreational or medical forms – or both in South Dakota’s case.
But the rollouts of the states’ new legal weed frameworks have been rocky, with legal challenges and legislative wrangling at times threatening to delay the programs voters supported.
Cannabis is big business — sales in the U.S. reached a record $17.5 billion last year. But any bill is going to need the support of 10 Republicans to overcome the filibuster in the Senate.