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Sen. Schumer plans to push federal marijuana reform to high priority

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05: Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) talks to reporters following the weekly Democratic Senate policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol March 05, 2019 in Washington, DC. With the support of at least four Republicans, the Senate seems poised to approve a resolution of disapproval on President Donald Trump's use of a national emergency declaration to secure the money he wants to build a border wall on the southern border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05: Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) talks to reporters following the weekly Democratic Senate policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol March 05, 2019 in Washington, DC. With the support of at least four Republicans, the Senate seems poised to approve a resolution of disapproval on President Donald Trump's use of a national emergency declaration to secure the money he wants to build a border wall on the southern border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 05: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) shown at the U.S. Capitol March 05, 2019 in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 11:00 AM PT – Friday, March 19, 2021

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that he wants to make the “long overdue issue of marijuana reform a top priority for Congress.”

Schumer released the statement in a video to Twitter with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The Democrat lawmakers cited the harm people of color, veterans and low-income citizens endure as a result of the current cannabis policy.

“It’s not everybody getting arrested. This is not a war on drugs its a war on people, on certain people,” Booker stated. “Veterans are disproportionally arrested for possession of marijuana.”

Previous marijuana legislation, known as the MORE Act, was passed by the House of Representatives in December 2020. Five Republican representatives, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) voted for the legislation. They cited potential advancement for the health care industry and lowered incarcerations.

“The American people do not support the policies of incarceration, limited research, limited choice and particularly constraining medical application,” Gaetz said.

Recent polls conducted by Pew Research Center found more than two-thirds of the U.S. population is in favor of marijuana legislation. Despite this, lawmakers of both parties voiced the slim chance of it passing in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doubted the House bill would even get a vote in the Senate.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 06: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to reporters after the Senate voted to confirm Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at the U.S. Capitol October 06, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Senate voted 50-48 to confirm Kavanaugh to replace retired Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 06: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shown at the U.S. Capitol October 06, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

“The House of Representatives is spending this week on pressing issues such as marijuana. Marijuana,” McConnell stated.

If Schumer’s legislation is passed, it would expunge criminal records for people arrested due to cannabis possession and ensure Big Tobacco doesn’t overpower small businesses.

“The issue is that so many lives have been wasted because marijuana has been listed as something as bad as heroine,” Schumer stated.

The Democrat senators went on to say they plan to introduce the legislation shortly.

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