WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is planning to propose legislation next week that would decriminalize the drug at the federal level, he said Thursday.
- 64 percent of Americans support some form of marijuana legalization.
- Around 30 states now allow at least medicinal marijauna use.
- President Trump says he is in favor of protecting states that have marijuana industries already set up but the Attorney General says he will crack down on lawbreakers.
Many states have their own laws that do the same thing, but the Drug Enforcement Administration considers marijuana a controlled substance. Schumer's measure would take it off that list.
And it would be a move, that has picked up public support, according to recent polls.
In an October 2017, a Gallup public opinion poll showed 64 percent of Americans support some form of marijuana legalization – a figure up from 34 percent in 2002.
But, depending on who you ask in the halls of Congress the opinion varies from no federal involvement to allowing for medicinal use to complete legalization.
“I think we’re going down a dangerous road to be continuing to advocate for all this open marijuana use," said Rep. Claudia Tenny, R-New York.
“Somewhere along the way, between what the states are doing and what the federal government is doing, there’s going to be a clash," said Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas.
Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana while around a dozen others have either decriminalized marijuana possession or significantly reduced any penalties associated with small amounts of possession.
But it is medicinal use that’s getting the most traction with more than two dozen states now allow marijuana strictly for health reasons.
“I think there’s a huge shift in the view that people have across this country on how important decriminalizing marijuana is and how important it is to make it available for medical uses," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York.
President Trump says he is in favor of protecting states that have marijuana industries already set up, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed to use federal resources to crack down on law breakers.
Right now at least a dozen marijuana bills are in various stages in Congress, but none close to passage and most lawmakers agree that when it comes to going green – any sort of legislation should be carefully considered.
“I do think we have to realize that this is not something that’s like jelly beans, it’s a drug that affects the brain and we need to be cautious," said Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Virginia.