Democratic Senators to Push Cannabis Reform Measures in the Coming Months

Cannabis reform might just be in the air in 2021. On Monday, three prominent Democrat senators — majority leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Ron Wyden of Oregon — issued a joint statement pledging to start the process in their chamber “in the early part of this year.”

Late last year, the House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment (MORE) Act, a potentially game-changing piece of legislation that would, among other measures, remove marijuana from Schedule 1 of the federal Controlled Substances Act, finally decriminalizing it.

Paper ballot under bowl of cannabis buds.

Image source: Getty Images.

With the Senate previously being controlled by the Republicans , traditionally the party more opposed to drug law reform, the legislation had no chance. But the last election returned Democrats to control of the chamber.

“The Senate will make consideration of [drug law] reforms a priority,” the trio of senators said in their statement.

They added: “[W]e will release a unified discussion draft on comprehensive reform to ensure restorative justice, protect public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations. Getting input from stakeholder groups will be an important part of developing this critical legislation.”

The senators were short on specifics in their brief statement, but it’s notable that they are setting such legislation as a priority, and one to be tackled in the very near future. It’s possible they won’t need to resort to much political arm-twisting and deal making, as many American voters support decriminalization. 

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Last November, the so-called “green wave” saw citizens in five states voting on differing forms of marijuana legalization. In all instances, the votes were very much in favor of legalization.

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