New York Senator and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not, in fact, quote the Fugees in describing what he is about to do about President Biden’s anti-cannabis stance.
But he might as well have:
“I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will,” Schumer told POLITICO. “But at some point we’re going to move forward, period.“
Schumer first introduced legalization legislation in 2018, but blames former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for holding it up. Schumer points to three major differences between then and now, which should help his cause:
- More states have legalized and none of the hysterical predictions – like rising crime rates – have materialized,
- Schumer is the Senate Majority Leader now, so a vote will happen, also known as “elections have consequences”, and
- President Biden is currently anti-cannabis, but Schumer says the President is open to learning more.
There are Some (potential) Speed Bumps
For one, if Biden is unconvinced, he could veto new legislation. We think this is unlikely, even for an administration that just turfed some pot-smoking staffers.
And while most Americans agree with reform, the details of the legislation are going to be crucial. Schumer says it’s a legalization document, not a decriminalization document — an important distinction that many Americans likely aren’t making. There could also be “controversial” elements to the new legislation, such as expunging criminal records, which might be difficult for some in Congress to support.
What’s Next? Defining the Word “Soon”
Schumer’s new federal cannabis reform legislation, co-written with fellow Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, will be made public “soon.” Important to note, “soon” is a term of art in Washington open to very, very wide interpretation.