Politics

Schumer Pushes Bill To Federally Decriminalize Weed

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is celebrating the national marijuana smoking holiday, known as 4/20, with a bill to federally decriminalize marijuana.

“It’s official. Today, I am formally announcing my plan to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. It’s time we allow states, once and for all, to have the power to decide what works best for them,” Schumer tweeted Friday morning. “I have long believed that states should function as their own laboratories of democracy. My bill is a step in the right direction aimed at removing the barriers to state legalization efforts.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a memorandum — the Cole memo — from the Obama administration that allowed states greater flexibility in passing laws to expand access to marijuana. Sessions and the administration received a great deal of blow back for the move, although the administration hasn’t acted on it.

Schumer isn’t the only long-term politician to change their mind about marijuana.

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings last week, a firm that oversees operations for marijuana cultivation, processing and dispensing throughout the country from California to Massachusetts.

“We need to look no further than our nation’s 20 million veterans, 20 percent of whom, according to a 2017 American Legion survey, reportedly use cannabis to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments,” Boehner and Weld said in a joint statement Wednesday. “Yet the VA does not allow its doctors to recommend its usage. There are numerous other patient groups in America whose quality of life has been dramatically improved by the state-sanctioned use of medical cannabis.”

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