“I am the first majority leader to say it’s time to end the federal prohibition on marijuana. As majority leader, I’m going to push this issue forward and make it a priority for the Senate,” Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, told Congress on July 12.
If Schumer’s draft bill, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, is accepted, policies would begin to unwind the decades-old war on drugs and offer more opportunity to businesses and individuals in states that have legalized cannabis to sell and consume without the risk of federal punishment.
The bill would also try to make up for years of of restrictive federal drug policies that disproportionally affect communities of color and the poor. It calls for immediately expunging nonviolent marijuana-related arrests and convictions from federal records and would earmark new tax revenue for restorative justice programs intended to lift up communities affected by “the failed federal prohibition of cannabis.”
“The suggestion that the Senate’s top leader would sponsor major decriminalization legislation would have been fantastical in the not-too-distant past,” concluded The New York Times.