Top Senate Democrats Vow to Reform Marijuana Law


Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.On Monday, top Democrats in the Senate said they would put forward a plan “in the early part of this year” to reform federal cannabis laws. “Ending federal marijuana prohibition,” Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) wrote, “is necessary.” Following in the footsteps of many states, Democrats are going to push to finally end cannabis prohibition at the federal level.
The language of the proposed legislation has not been finalized, but the senators promised to release a discussion draft soon. They made clear, too, that the end to marijuana prohibition is “not enough”—legislation would need to address previous wrongs.
“As states continue to legalize marijuana, we must also enact measures that will lift up people who were unfairly targeted in the War on Drugs,” the senators wrote. “We are committed to working together to put forward and advance comprehensive cannabis reform legislation that will not only turn the page on this sad chapter in American history, but also undo the devastating consequences of these discriminatory policies.”
In December, the House voted to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. The gesture was largely symbolic given the bill’s dim prospects in the then-Republican-controlled Senate.
While the path forward for federal cannabis legalization remains unclear, states continue taking it upon themselves to institute reforms Today, Kansas’ Democratic Governor Laura Kelly proposed that the state legalize medical marijuana to pay for Medicaid expansion. Virginia’s state legislature is also racing to approve a legalization plan before the state’s crossover deadline on Friday.