Support for marijuana legalization has doubled since 2000.
American views on marijuana legalization have changed drastically over the past two decades. In 2000, 31% of Americans favored legalization, and in 2018, that number has nearly doubled to 61%. But there is still a stark contrast between Republicans and Democrats on the issue.
According to Pew Research, nearly 7 in 10 Democrats say marijuana use should be legal as do 65% of independents. By contrast, just 43% of Republicans favor marijuana legalization while 55% are opposed.
Like most Americans, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has evolved on the issue over the years. So much, in fact, that he plans to propose new legislation that would decriminalize marijuana on a federal level.
THREAD: It’s official. Today, I am formally announcing my plan to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. It’s time we allow states, once and for all, to have the power to decide what works best for them.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 20, 2018\n
“The time has come to decriminalize marijuana,” the New York Democrat said in a statement on Friday, April 20. “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. It’s simply the right thing to do,” he said.
Schumer’s decision to make this statement on 4/20, a day celebrated by pot smokers, wasn’t lost on Twitter.
When Chuck Schumer announces he’s introducing legislation to decriminalize weed on 4/20 pic.twitter.com/EzQ2fj46Qh— tim donovan (@tadonovan) April 19, 2018\n
“A staggering number of American citizens, a disproportionate number of whom are African American and Latino, continue to be arrested every day for something that most Americans agree should not be a crime,” Schumer wrote in a Medium post. “Meanwhile, those who are entering into the marijuana market in states that have legalized are set to make a fortune. This is not only misguided, but it undermines the basic principles of fairness and equal opportunity that are foundational to the American way of life.”
If approved, the bill would remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances and allow states to decide how to regulate the drug. The bill would also allocate funds for marijuana businesses for women and people of color.
If it passes Congress, the bill may be signed by President Donald Trump, unless the fickle president has a change of heart. Last week, the White House confirmed that the president told a Colorado senator he wouldn’t crack down on state-legal cannabis and that he supports legalization.