A joint statement released by senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, (who has a history of championing marijuana decriminalization legislation), alongside New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, declared their intention to pass sweeping legislation that would end the federal prohibition on cannabis.
Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia have legalised marijuana for adult recreational use, and 36 states permit medical use, however, previously, the Republican-controlled Senate would often create roadblocks for changes to policies at a federal level. A Gallup poll in November showed that 68% of Americans, a record high, supported marijuana legalization.
The Democratic Senators stated that they intend to release a unified discussion draft on comprehensive reform in the early part of this year. In addition to ending the cannabis prohibition, they added that the legislation would “protect public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations.”
The reform will also provide restorative justice for people who have been convicted of cannabis-related crimes, the senators said in a joint statement. They also stated that “The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of colour, ending the federal marijuana prohibition is necessary to right the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of harm inflicted on communities of colour across the country”.
As states continue to legalize marijuana, we must also enact measures that will lift up people who were unfairly targeted in the War on Drugs.”