Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that he would introduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana, which he said is “long overdue.”
“I’ve seen too many people’s lives ruined because they had served time in jail much too long,” Schumer said in an interview with Vice News Tonight. “Ultimately it’s the right thing to do. If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal.”
This appears to be the first time Schumer has said he would introduce federal legislation on the topic. In 2014, he told NBC news journalist Chuck Todd that he wanted to see how recreational marijuana worked in the two states that had legalized its recreational like Colorado, before pushing for something in Congress. “The view I have, and I’m a little cautious on this, is let’s see how the state experiments work,” he told Todd.
He has, however, voiced opposition to marijuana restrictions before. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy last January that let states pass laws allowing marijuana, Schumer spoke out, calling it a “very bad decision.”
Despite Schumer’s enthusiasm for new legislation, his bill is unlikely to garner the 60 votes necessary to pass.
Schumer’s announcement came a day before April 20, or 420 Day, when marijuana aficionados celebrate.