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Will the Next Cannabis Legalization Bill Finally Pass?

Senator Schumer isn't giving up, but is that enough?

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This story originally appeared on Cannabis.net

In a recent news report, Chuck Schumer announced introducing his cannabis reform measure in about two months. During a press conference a few days ago, the Senate Majority Leader discussed his plans to rally support for the bill and ensure its passage this year.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has always been a vocal advocate for cannabis reform in the legislature. In the last five years, he has filed several measures, all relating to cannabis reforms in Congress, but hasn't been successful. His new attempt at going at it again shows he is committed to the cause. Last year, the majority leader announced that he was working on a more comprehensive bill that would include clear language on the various paths cannabis reform can take, as well as the benefits of decriminalization for all Americans.

Schumer is not alone in his fight for cannabis reform; other lawmakers, like Jerrod Nadler, House Judiciary Committee Chairman, also have a separate bill to legalize cannabis. Many federal lawmakers are beginning to see the light concerning cannabis reforms, and some of these leading legislators are working to eradicate cannabis prohibitions as soon as possible.

RELATED: One Year In: How the U.S. Cannabis Council Has Pushed For Federal Legalization

Federal cannabis policy proposals

Schumer's cannabis reform bill has long been awaited, and in about six to eight weeks, it will finally be filed. The success of this measure would federally decriminalize cannabis. Arrest rates will be reduced, and people may be allowed to possess a specified amount of cannabis.

At the event, which was held in New York a few weeks ago, Jerrod Nadler gave a detailed progress report on his sponsored legalization bill. The event was attended by notable names like Nydia Velazquez, House Small Business Committee Chairman, and advocates belonging to drug policy alliance groups across the country. A lot of issues concerning federal cannabis policies were discussed at the event, including the recently passed bill containing the bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The SAFE Act has been given in the House six times, including now. In the next few weeks, it will also be sent to the Senate for the sixth time for consideration.

While giving his speech at the event, Schumer explained that his team would be ramping up their outreach program to rally support for the bill before it is filed in April. Once the bill is filed, he says that a nationwide outreach would commence immediately with the headquarters based in New York. He emphasized that this bill is his number one priority, and as Majority Leader, he is fully dedicated to making sure it is successful.

RELATED: Cannabis Operators Say Lack of Banking Is Biggest Problem

Schumer's Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act

Schumer's bill is one of the next steps for federal reform, and just a few details about the drafted bill have supporters enthralled. In July, Schumer revealed a drawn form of his bill to public opinion; many have grown tired of his recycled statements each month on how the best time to unravel the bill formally is soon. His recent announcement, which gave a definite period for the formal introduction, will probably motivate more supporters to become involved.

In the last month, he has shared several words on the issue. He had a meeting with activists and disclosed that when the bill is filed in April, committee hearings on the proposal will commence also. He also mentioned that the public comments on the draft bill in April have helped his team modify the draft bill. Those comments have been included and sent to Republican and Democratic Senators for support. He pointed out that the legislation already had support from some GOP members. Still, he failed to clarify whether or not the bill would be co-sponsored by some Republican lawmakers or if it was the voters showing support.

It would be nice to see some lawmakers across party lines come together to end federal cannabis prohibitions. Schumer also called for valuable ideas and support from other senators to make the bill perfect. He stressed that his goal for the bill is to keep economic and social justice as its spearhead. Hence, any contribution that would enhance this effect will be happily embraced.

Last year, it can be recalled that Schumer stated that he wanted a cannabis reform bill to pass before 2022's 4/20 (an unofficial cannabis holiday). However, that seems highly unlikely right now. If the bill is introduced in April and is immediately followed by committee hearings, it will still not be possible to get to the President's desk before or on April 20.

Making progress on federal cannabis policies

At last Friday's event, Nadler, Schumer, and many New Yorkers highlighted New York's legalization law and how it is currently being implemented, saying that it could serve as a blueprint for how federal cannabis could go. The model for the U.S.'s total equity for cannabis reform can only be achievable if the federal prohibition is lifted.

Schumer further explained that the pro-cannabis lawmakers plan to use the great work achieved by the state of New York on cannabis reforms as an example. They want to reopen a case for marijuana reform that could turn around the ills of the war on drugs at the federal level. According to Schumer, Americans can be satisfied with only state laws. Not to mention that the absence of a national cannabis law creates problems for many operators in the cannabis industry.

In addition to these, Schumer's office is currently working with advocates and stakeholders to pass his proposed bill and the SAFE Banking Act. However, the majority leader claims that his legalization measure should be passed before the SAFE Act. He also said he plans to keep the big companies out of the marijuana industry. Referring to them as "big boys," he says that small operators need to gain the most from cannabis reforms as they have been the ones disadvantaged by the war on drugs.

Bottom line

This year could end with one or more approved cannabis reforms if moves like these keep being made. Lawmakers like Schumer and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who initiate conversations on cannabis reform, is actively spreading the word. All that's left is for both chambers to pass the reforms unanimously to benefit the country and its residents.