New York Senator To Introduce Cannabis Descheduling Legislation

Senator Chuck Schumer (D) plans to introduce legislation that would deschedule cannabis - a move that would end the federal prohibition of marijuana if it goes through, reports Leafly.

Schumer becomes one of a string of New York politicians to support cannabis legalization, including current Governor Andrew Cuomo and gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. But Schumer insists his intentions are selfless. He acknowledges the current push for legalization in New York, but says he simply sees it as what should be done.

"I’m doing it because I think it’s the right thing to do," he said. "I’ve seen too many people’s lives ruined by the criminalization. If we benefit, so be it. But that’s not my motivation."

Schumer's new bill contains four main points:

  • Removes cannabis from the DEA’s list of controlled substances. This would end federal prohibition and leave the regulation of cannabis up to individual states;
  • Create funding for minority and women-owned cannabis businesses;
  • Provide money for research into cannabis, with a focus on its effect on driving impairment;
  • Maintain federal authority over cannabis advertising, in the same way the federal government regulates alcohol and tobacco ads.

Without the full details of Schumer's bill, it is not clear how this differs from the Marijuana Justice Act introduced by Cory Booker (D) last year.

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Glaucoma often makes the list of acceptable conditions for treatment by medical marijuana in states where the substance has been legalized, but the cannabis compound CBD could actually worsen the condition. A recent study from Indiana University has found that consuming CBD—a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis often used for medicinal purposes— actually increases eye pressure. "This study raises important questions about the relationship between the primary ingredients in cannabis and their effect on the eye," lead researcher Alex Straiker told Science Alert.