Senate Democrats Delay Cannabis Legalization Bill Until August

Senate Democrats are set to introduce a federal legalization bill in August; the proposal would remove cannabis from the federal controlled substances list and includes an emphasis on criminal justice reforms and public health.

Full story after the jump.

Senate Democrats expect to introduce a cannabis legalization bill in August after initially announcing plans to file a bill this month, The Hill reports. The effort is being led by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (NY) and Sens. Cory Booker (NJ) and Ron Wyden (OR).

In a statement, Schumer said the proposal – the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act – would remove “cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances” and “help repair our criminal justice system, ensure restorative justice, protect public health, and implement responsible taxes and regulations.” The majority leader had previously indicated the bill would have been brought “towards the end of April.”

Last month the House passed a separate bill – the MORE Act – but the legislation has not been considered by the Senate, which is split 50-50 between the parties but controlled by Democrats as Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaking vote. Democrats would need 60 votes to overcome a likely filibuster by Republicans, which means they would need support from 10 members of the GOP in the chamber.

In December, a YouGov poll found that 57% of Americans back broad cannabis legalization at the federal level, including 70% of Democrats, 61% of independents, and 40% of Republicans. A November 2021 Gallup poll found that 68% of Americans backed the reforms, including 83% of Democrats, 72% of independents, and 48% of Republicans. It was the highest level of support for cannabis legalization that the pollster had found since it started asking about the issue in 1969.

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