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Schumer says federal marijuana legalization, expungement is Senate priority

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Senator Chuck Schumer. - LEV RADIN / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • lev radin / Shutterstock.com
  • Senator Chuck Schumer.

The U.S. Congress is closer than ever to legalizing weed — and the leader of the Democratic-majority Senate says he'll use all of his political power to make it happen.

A day after unveiling proposed legislation to end federal cannabis prohibition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said that doing so was a top priority.

"I am the first majority leader to say it's time to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and as majority leader, I'm going to push this issue forward and make it a priority for the Senate," Schumer said Thursday, according to The Hill.

On Wednesday, Schumer introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which would legalize marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing for it to be taxed and regulated.

The bill would allow financial services such as bank accounts and loans for legal cannabis businesses. Even though many states, including Michigan, have legalized marijuana for recreational use, it remains a Schedule 1 banned drug in the eyes of the federal government, which can put many legal businesses in hot water when it comes to banking.

The proposed legislation would also immediately expunge the criminal records of people with low-level marijuana offenses.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon, both Democrats, are sponsors.

"At long last it would take steps to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs," Schumer said.

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