An employee holds up a jar of marijuana for sale after it became legal in the state to sell recreational marijuana to customers over the age of 21 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Illinois will begin legal marijuana sales on January 1, 2020.
Matthew Hatcher | Reuters
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic Senators said Monday they will be pushing for sweeping law passed this year that would end the federal marijuana ban, legalized to some extent by many states.
This reform would also provide so-called restorative justice to people convicted of pot-related crimes, the senators said in a joint statement.
“The war on drugs was a war against people – especially people with skin color,” said a statement by Schumer of New York and Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon.
“Ending the federal marijuana ban is necessary to eradicate the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of damage that has been done to color communities across the country,” they said.
“But that alone is not enough. As states continue to legalize marijuana, we must also take action to raise people who were wrongly targeted in the war on drugs.”
The senators said they would release “a single draft discussion on major reforms” earlier this year and that passing the law will be a priority for the Senate.
The trio also said the legislation would not only end the federal pot ban and ensure restorative justice, it would “protect public health and introduce responsible taxes and regulations”.
A few years ago Schumer supported the legislation to decriminalize marijuana.
The statement comes as public support for legal marijuana has grown. A Gallup poll in November found that 68% of Americans, a record high, are in favor of legalizing marijuana.
Any initiative that included decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana on the ballot in 2020 has been passed.
Voters in New Jersey and Arizona decided to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Mississippi voted to legalize medical marijuana use, and South Dakota legalized the drug for both recreational and medical use.
To date, 15 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational adult use, and 36 states allow the drug to be used medicinally.
Oregon is the first country to decriminalize hard drugs.