A marijuana activist smokes a vape in front of a 51-foot inflatable joint during an October 2019 rally at the US Capitol to call on Congress to pass cannabis reform legislation. Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call/AP
Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill Thursday to legalize weed on the federal level, finally opening the floodgates to a conversation that activists (and stoners) have been working toward for decades.
The Senate bill goes further than just pure legalization too. It “expunges federal cannabis-related records and creates funding for law enforcement departments to fight illegal cannabis cultivation,” Politico reported.
But the chances of any of this becoming law are still slim. The bill is not expected to clear the 60-vote threshold for most legislation in the Senate. A minority of Democrats, including some from states that have already legalized weed, are not on board with changing federal law. Politico has the details:
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, for example, represents a state where weed is legal—Montana—and says he does not support federal decriminalization. A handful of other Democrats told POLITICO that they are against legalization or are undecided, including Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).
That’s a huge bummer, but not entirely unexpected when you consider the demographics of Congress. As my colleague Abigail Weinberg so succinctly put it earlier this year: old people are much less inclined to support weed legalization and the Senate is really old…”11 senators over the age of 75″ levels of old.
Just because Schumer’s bill may not pass does not make it useless. Far from it. The push toward weed legalization has picked up steam in recent years—the House has voted twice in the past two years for it—and 19 states and Washington, DC now allow recreational use of weed. The tide is shifting.