Schumer: Senate will act on marijuana legalization with or without Biden

You said during the 2020 election that McConnell’s opposition to cannabis policy was the primary thing holding it up. But do you know of or believe there are other Republicans who do support removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act?

Yes. What we want to do is first introduce our comprehensive bill, and then start sitting down with people who are not for this in both parties, and A) try to educate them, B) see what their objections are, and if they have some modifications that don’t interfere with the main thrust of the bill — we’d certainly listen to some suggestions if that’ll bring more people on board. That is not to say we’re going to throw overboard things like expungement of records — [things that are] very important to us — just because some people don’t like it.

Speaking of expungement of records, most criminal records are at the state level, not at the federal level. Do you think that the federal government should be pushing states to expunge those records?



While we can’t require it, we can get all kinds of different incentives — incentives and disincentives.

Along those lines, decriminalization versus legalization is something that a lot of people don’t fully understand. You actually said yesterday to reporters that you call it “decriminalization” because that lets the states legalize. And just to clarify, when you say decriminalization…

I am personally for legalization. And the bill that we’ll be introducing is headed in that direction.

Does it remove marijuana completely from the Controlled Substances Act?

Oh, you’ll have to wait. I don’t want to get into the details of our bill. You’ll have to wait and see.

The vice president sponsored the [comprehensive legalization legislation] MORE Act in the previous Congress. Has she been involved at all in these legalization talks?

We would like to get her involved, but we have not yet.

You said that the timeline on this bill is soon. Does that mean that we’re going to see it in the next two weeks?

I’ll stick to what I said: soon.