Chuck Schumer Makes POT Request – An Act Of Desperation?

( Democrats in the Senate seem set on introducing a bill in the coming months that would reform federal legislation surrounding cannabis.

In fact, a group of top Senate Democrats are hoping to lead their membership through a process to get input on what the bill might look like.

This week, Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Ron Wyden of Oregon (the chair of the Finance Committee) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York sent a letter to the Democratic colleagues to invite them “into the drafting process as we work to finalize this legislation.”

The letter read:

“In order to appropriately address such a nuanced issue, we respectfully request the input, advice and guidance of Chairs and Ranking Members of relevant committees as well as senators who have dealt with the challenges and realities of legalization in their own states.

“We would deeply appreciate your willingness to share your expertise on the intersections between your committees’ jurisdictions, your states’ experiences, and comprehensive cannabis reform and invite you to join the process of perfecting this legislation. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you in the weeks ahead.”

Schumer said in a recent press conference that his goal would be to introduce a bill that would lift the current federal ban on cannabis by April. One thing such a move would do is allow cannabis businesses that are compliant with state laws to gain access to some financial services that they are currently banned from accessing — including loans and bank accounts.

The three Democrats who sent the letter this week have been working for months on this federal cannabis bill. In fact, they even introduced a draft of the bill in 2021.

Many Americans seem to be in favor of federal reforms on cannabis. A poll conducted by Pew Research in 2021 found that 60% of people who responded said they would support legalizing marijuana for both recreational and medical use at the federal level. The poll also found that 31% of respondents would support legalizing marijuana for medical use only.

Despite this high level of support from the American public, Democrats may have a tough time getting the legislation passed through Congress. The House would seem certain to pass a form of the bill, since they currently have a large enough majority to do so.

Over in the Senate, though, Democrats would need support from at least 10 Republicans to avoid the filibuster — and it’s likely that it will be at least a battle to gain that support.

Still, Democrats plan to forge ahead for a number of reasons.

In the letter the senators sent out this week, they wrote:

“As more and more states move to legalize cannabis for both adult and medical use, the federal government has an important role to play. Hundreds of millions of Americans live in states that have legalized cannabis in some form while it remains illegal at the federal level.

“This discrepancy leads to confusion and uncertainty and raises significant questions around criminal justice reform, economic development and small business growth, and public health and safety, all of which we believe require some type of federal answer.”