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Senate Democrats say consideration of cannabis reforms will be a priority

Senate Democrats say consideration of cannabis reforms will be a priority
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A group of Senate Democrats on Monday said it is committed to “comprehensive cannabis reform” and called for the end of the federal prohibition of marijuana.

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerWhite House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill Harris to preside over Senate for voting rights debate MORE (D-N.Y.) along with Sens. Cory BookerCory BookerHarris casts tiebreaking vote to confirm OPM nominee White House says Biden crime address won't undercut police reform bill Racial reparations at the USDA MORE (D-N.J.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care: White House acknowledges it will fall short of July 4 vaccine goal | Fauci warns of 'localized surges' in areas with low vaccination rates | Senate Finance leader releases principles for lowering prescription drug prices Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Flaming shipwreck wreaks havoc on annual sea turtle migration Senate Finance chair releases principles for lowering prescription drug prices MORE (D-Ore.) said in a joint statement that the Senate would be making cannabis reform a “priority.”

“The War on Drugs has been a war on people — particularly people of color. Ending the federal marijuana prohibition is necessary to right the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of harm inflicted on communities of color across the country,” the statement read. “But that alone is not enough. 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.”

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In a separate statement, Rep. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerBipartisan bill proposes to add billion in restaurant relief funds White House pressed on evacuating Afghan allies as time runs out Rivers, hydropower and climate resilience MORE (D-Ore.), co-chairman of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, voiced support for the efforts.

Blumenauer blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP blocks voting rights bill Schumer, McConnell spar as GOP prepares to block voting bill Trump has 'zero desire' to be Speaker, spokesman says MORE (R-Ky.) for blocking congressional efforts to pass cannabis reform bills in the past.

The formerly GOP-led Senate, headed by McConnell when he was majority leader, did not take up measures related to cannabis.

“The missing ingredient in cannabis reform has been Senate action. To finally have the active leadership of the new Senate majority leader, rather than being stuck in McConnell’s legislative graveyard, makes all the difference in the world,” Blumenauer said.

Justin Strekal, political director for the marijuana law reform organization NORML, also pinned blame on McConnell for neglecting and mocking marijuana reform policies. In a statement released in response to the senators, he said he was “heartened” to see senators working to repeal “senseless and cruel” marijuana policies. 

“We look forward to constructively engaging with Congressional leaders, other organizations, and those communities that have historically been most impacted by criminalization in order to ensure that we craft the strongest and most comprehensive bill possible to right the wrongs of the nearly a century of federal cannabis prohibition,” Strekal said.

Marijuana, classified as a Schedule I drug, is currently legal for recreational use among adults in 15 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories, according to NBC News. Thirty-four states and two territories currently allow medical marijuana use. Fifteen states and the U.S. territory of American Samoa do not have any laws that allow marijuana.