- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2018

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, announced his support Friday for decriminalizing marijuana, and said he’ll introduce a bill to strip the drug from being listed as a federally controlled substance.

The announcement is a major step in marijuana politics, earning the support of perhaps the most powerful Democrat in Washington, given his party’s numbers in the Senate.

He chose April 20, or 4/20, which has long been a big day for pot enthusiasts, for his announcement.

Mr. Schumer said his bill would cut federal authorities out of the business of policing marijuana use — but it would not change states where possession or use of the drug is still illegal. And federal authorities would still police trafficking from legal states to illegal states.

“My thinking — as well as the general population’s views — on the issue has evolved, and so I believe there’s no better time than the present to get this done,” Mr. Schumer said. “It’s simply the right thing to do.”

He said he particularly wants women and minority-owned businesses to have a piece of the growing pot business.

While a number of states have legalized use of marijuana for various contexts, the federal government still considers it a harmful and illegal drug. The Obama administration relaxed enforcement by federal officials, but the Trump administration has reversed that.

But there has been some dissent.

Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, which was one of the first states to fully legalize the drug, has been pressing President Trump for assurances that he will not meddle in states that have chosen Colorado’s path.

Earlier this week Mr. Gardner said Mr. Trump promised him states will be free to pursue their own path on marijuana.

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