Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is ready to make marijuana law changes even if President Biden isn’t.
President Biden had been the only Democratic candidate during the 2020 Presidential Election that had been against legalizing the drug.
Recently White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that Biden’s “position has not changed” on full legalization since the campaign.
While Senator Schumer told Politico that he respects Biden’s desire for more study on the subject, he wants to still “move forward” anyway.
“He said he’s studying the issue,” said Schumer when asked if he would introduce a legalization bill even if Biden opposes it. The New York Senator said he wants to give Biden “a little time” to research the question.
“I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will,” Schumer said to Politico. “But at some point we’re going to move forward, period.”
The Senator is working on legislation to change federal marijuana laws along with Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
The new bill’s contents have yet to be revealed.
Schumer said last week, “I support decriminalization at the federal level, and we’ll be introducing legislation with a few of my colleagues shortly.”
When asked by Politico about whether the new legislation calls for legalization or decriminalization, Schumer responded, “I am personally for legalization. And the bill that we’ll be introducing is headed in that direction.”
“I don’t want to get into the details of our bill. You’ll have to wait and see,” Schumer added.
“When a few of the early states – Oregon and Colorado – wanted to legalize, all the opponents talked about the parade of horribles: Crime would go up. Drug use would go up. Everything bad would happen,” Schumer explained. “The parade of horribles never came about, and people got more freedom. And people in those states seem very happy.”
Schumer’s state of New York just legalized the plant for adult use at the end of March.
“By pledging to advance marijuana reform, Majority Leader Schumer is representing not only the will of the 70% of Americans who now support full legalization, but also the over 40% of them who currently reside in states where that is already the reality,” Erik Altieri, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told USA TODAY.
“President Biden needs to join Schumer and the American people on the right side of history and, if he will not join them in calling for a correction to this long-running injustice, Congress should force his hand by putting legislation to end our failed prohibition on his desk as soon as possible,” Altieri continued.