Senate Democrats to roll out weed decriminalization bill next week
Senate Democrats are planning to roll out long-awaited legislation to decriminalize marijuana next week, despite expected resistance from Republicans.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who has been leading the legislative push along with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), confirmed reports that senators are set to unveil the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act in the coming week.
Bloomberg News was first to report the news on Thursday.
“We’re introducing it soon,” Booker told The Hill later on Thursday, adding that the legislation will be “very similar” to draft plan released by the senators last year, though with “very important changes” made.
Senators had previously planned to file a comprehensive reform bill in April, but later announced they’d wait to introduce legislation ahead of their roughly monthlong recess in August.
The bill seeks to remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and is expected to include measures aimed at criminal justice reform.
The news comes months after the House voted to pass legislation to nationally legalize marijuana, dubbed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, which also included social justice reform measures, and those aimed at helping communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the nation’s drug policies.
The legislation passed swiftly in the lower chamber where Democrats hold control, but the forthcoming marijuana bill faces an uphill battle to notch the necessary support in the 50-50 Senate, where at least 60 votes will be needed for approval.
In recent months, Senate Democrats involved in the push say they’ve been in talks with Republicans as they work to gain momentum for the bill, but the effort has already drawn significant resistance from GOP members.
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