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Sen. Schumer Urges Marijuana Reform in Meeting with AG Pick Garland
On the heels of announcing that marijuana reform will be a priority issue for the U.S. Senate in 2021, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on Tuesday that he urged attorney general nominee Merrick Garland to “respect the rights of states that have legalized marijuana” during a recent meeting.
Cannabis was one of only four specific policies Schumer mentioned in a two-paragraph statement issued following what the majority leader called “a very productive and important conversation” with Garland and President Joe Biden’s nominees for other top Department of Justice (DOJ) posts.
Sen. Wyden Says Cannabis Legalization Solves Numerous Cannabis Issues
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who assumed the top spot on the Senate Finance Committee under the chamber’s new Democratic majority, says that federal legalization of marijuana is the best way to clear up numerous problems for the state cannabis industries.
While Wyden didn’t point to any specific bills in the podcast interview, there are numerous pieces of legislation that could fall within his committee’s jurisdiction, including comprehensive proposals to federally legalize cannabis that would involve imposing excise taxes on marijuana sales.
Rep. Perlmutter Says He Will Push for Marijuana Banking to Be in Next COVID Package
Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado says he will again attempt to add language federally protecting banks that service state-legal marijuana businesses to the next coronavirus relief package.
Perlmutter noted that, last session, the House passed his cannabis proposal as standalone legislation, but “the Senate sat on it.” With Democrats now in control of both chambers of Congress, the chances of passing either his more narrowly tailored financial services legislation or broader cannabis reform are significantly improved. The congressman said that the goal of his proposal is to give marijuana businesses access to financial services that are available to other markets.
Virginia Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana in New Poll as Lawmakers Rapidly Advance Bills
A strong majority of Virginia residents, including most Republicans, are in favor of legalizing marijuana for adult use, according to a new poll.
The survey, published on Tuesday by Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Civic Leadership, comes as bills to legalize cannabis have swiftly moved through multiple committees in the legislature ahead of a key mid-session deadline to get them to floor votes on Friday.
Asked about the policy change, 68 percent of respondents said they were in favor of legalization, compared to 32 percent who said they were opposed. Legalizing marijuana got the most support of any of the three criminal justice proposals included in the poll, which also asked about ending the death penalty and eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes.
A demographic breakdown shows that legalizing cannabis enjoys majority support from every group surveyed.
Idaho Senate to Vote on Constitutional Marijuana Ban
The Idaho Senate is expected to vote this morning on SJR 101, a proposed constitutional amendment that would enshrine the prohibitions on Schedule I and II drugs in the state constitution, a move designed to thwart activist efforts to place a medical marijuana initiative on the 2022 ballot.
The ACLU of Idaho and the Idaho Freedom Foundation, policy groups spanning the political spectrum, have announced their opposition to the measure on the grounds that it usurps the petitioning power of the people laid out in the Idaho Constitution, and that it inserts references to Idaho statute in the constitution.
If passed, the measure would be placed on the 2022 ballot, where a simple majority vote of the people would add it to the constitution. Even if a medical marijuana initiative were placed on the 2022 ballot, it would lose if the amendment wins.