July 15, 2021

Chuck Schumer vowed to make Decriminalization of Marijuana a Priority in the Senate.

 

Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden just proposed a draft legislation to decriminalize Marijuana—not legalize it.

As most of us know, laws in the United States are different in every state when it comes to cannabis products. While some allow recreational use, others might put you in jail for blazing it up.

The latest move of Democrats is designed to address concerns among Republican lawmakers and find a middle ground to get this bill passed. Kamala Harris already signaled her support of this approach—Joe Biden still needs to get convinced.

The idea of this bill is explicitly not to legalize weed on a Federal level; the goal is to decriminalize possession of cannabis products. And it goes even further by suggesting to eliminate any charges for nonviolent crimes from the records of American citizens.

I feel that this is the most important part of the bill. Black people have a 3.73 times higher chance of getting arrested for the possession of weed—and that needs to change. Schumer’s goal is to take that burden off the Black community in all states.

Another side effect of decriminalization is that it enables scientists to do more research on the topic without the hindrance of dealing with a controlled substance.

On top of that, there is also (of course) a business aspect to this. As of now, companies are not able to access money from investors because of Federal laws—and that also needs to change.

What this bill doesn’t propose is forcing all states to accept the recreational use of Marijuana. Schumer is aware that it is not going to be easy to get a majority in the Senate for any proposal that addresses the topic—that’s why the current bill is focussing on decriminalization and not on legalization.

I know that some folks might be disappointed about that, but please keep in mind that this is a long process that won’t bring results quickly. It is the start of a long, overdue conversation on how to do this responsibly.

And maybe, just maybe, Joe Biden can be convinced to support the bill when he hears about how much money Colorado made in taxes since they allowed recreational use. Just like Colorado, the United States could use some money for infrastructure. And who knows, maybe that even convinces a few Republican lawmakers.

This is just the beginning, and I am glad that Schumer took this step.

The first goal should be getting everyone out of jail who is serving a sentence for possessing small amounts of Marijuana. The next step should be funding research on safety, growing methods, and therapy for addicts—and one day down the line, we might talk about full legalization, but it needs to be done in a responsible way.

So, dear stoners, please don’t get mad at Chuck for taking small steps. I feel that he knows what he is doing.

 

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