Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to decriminalize marijuana with federal legislation.
The New York Democrat said in a statement, “The time to decriminalize marijuana is now,” adding that his bill is “simply the right thing to do.”
As the Hill notes, Schumer introduced the potential law on Wednesday. It was co-sponsored by Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Democratic Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
His bill, entitled “The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act,” would amend the 1970 Controlled Substances Act so that pot was no longer a prescribed drug.
Individual states could then decide whether they wanted to restrict or allow marijuana possession. Schumer is promoting the proposed act just as Canada is poised to implement full legalization of the drug.
Under Schumer’s bill, the federal government could still step in to bar interstate trafficking — if it involved the sale of pot between a state where it is legal and one where it is not.
People who currently have a criminal record as a result of marijuana possession could have their records expunged as a result of the bill.
Schumer also earmarks $500 million over five years to the Department of Health and Human Services in order to study the potential uses of medical marijuana and to examine how THC — which produces the drug’s high — acts upon users.