A Major Senate Marijuana Bill May Not Be All It's Cracked Up to Be

In April, New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer announced he would introduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana and other pro-cannabis measures. But it sounds like Schumer may have bitten off more than he could chew.

Rolling Stone ran a feature about Schumer's proposed marijuana bill. Schumer has made almost no mention of his cannabis bill since announcing it in April, but a source in his office says he plans to introduce it sometime this month. Some advocates claim Schumer's bill will be a groundbreaking piece of legislation that includes measures to help women and minorities enter the industry, increase funding into the medical benefits of the drug as well as decriminalize it at the federal level.

However, some say the bill doesn't quite go far enough. While Schumer's bill would technically decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, it would only do so by removing it from the list of controlled substances. Therefore states would still be able to make the drug illegal, meaning it wouldn't actually be decriminalized throughout the country. Other marijuana bills proposed in Congress would completely decriminalize cannabis nationwide.

The bill also doesn't address expunging criminal records for people convicted of minor marijuana crimes. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker's Marijuana Justice Act bill introduced last year would do so. So cannabis advocates are asking Schumer to not only push his bill, but also support Booker's as well.

But still many in the marijuana industry say Schumer's bill would be a major step forward. Even Booker himself says it's not so much that he and his fellow senator disagree on the issue as much as they're simply using different methods of trying to obtain the same goal.

Of course, all of this may not matter of Schumer can't convince Senate Republicans to also support the bill. So all of these bills may simply be put on hold until this November's midterm elections.

(h/t Rolling Stone)


Citing supply shortages, Ontario announced Thursday that they would now be taking a “phased approach” to issuing cannabis retail licenses. Despite earlier claims that they would not be capping the number of licenses for retail pot shops, they announced Thursday that they would, in fact, be limiting the number of licenses dispensed in April to 25. The province says that the licenses will be issued though a lottery system overseen by a third party to “ensure equality and transparency.” This, of course, is following the Progressive Conservative’s stark change in cannabis policy for the province after defeating the Ontario Liberal government in 2018.