There’s something going on in Washington. Maybe it’s because senators and congressmen recently got to sit down with definitely-not-a-robot Mark Zuckerberg and get to the bottom of whether or not The Facebook was the same as The Twitter, maybe it’s because here we are at the end of April and it’s still freezing up and down most of the eastern seaboard and everyone’s getting cabin fever.
Last night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that he plans to introduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level. And the introduction of that bill would come on—wait for it—4/20. Whoo boy, those pesky democrats. Introducing a marijuana bill on the day internationally recognized as marijuana day? You got us Chuck. Who said the government can’t be cool?
Schumer’s bill would take marijuana off the list of scheduled substances under a 1970 law that classifies marijuana in the same category as heroin for legal and regulatory purposes. If passed, the legislation would also establish funding for women- and minority-owned marijuana businesses, it would require more research on the drug’s public health impact, and maintain federal authority to regulate commercial advertising. Basically, it would be treated the same as alcohol and tobacco.
But cool uncle Chuck wasn’t done there. No sir. On Thursday, an interview that he had done with HBO’s Vice News was released, where Schumer said, “If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?” To show that he wasn’t just blowing smoke, he went ahead and made the announcement official and signed a bong. (Hopefully he wasn’t too stoned and remembers to sign the actual bill as well. Though, the mental image of Schumer hoisting a Jerome Baker above his head as he walks through the hallowed-halls of the Capital building is a fantastic one.)
The move by Schumer doesn’t really come as a surprise. Just this month, we’ve seen former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)—a long time opponent of any sort of legalization of marijuana—join the board of a marijuana company, to be an advocate for the legalization process. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced a bill that would permanently decriminalize hemp. And then there’s Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), who seems to have won a battle against federal regulation as he held up Trump’s nominees for the Justice Department until he received a personal assurance from the president that his administration would not crack down on states that have legalized marijuana. (Gardner is also drafting bipartisan legislation that would make clear that states have the right to determine their own marijuana laws without federal interference.) And that’s just what’s going on with Republicans.
We’re going to check on everyone’s favorite grandpa Bernie Sanders and see what that kooky Vermonter is up to. Stay tuned for more.