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Sen. Chuck Schumer says he will back marijuana legalization bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., answers reporters' questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on February 1. Schumer said Thursday he will back new marijuana legalization legislation Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/2123f497c838493004962a168c184d33/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., answers reporters' questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on February 1. Schumer said Thursday he will back new marijuana legalization legislation Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday he is supporting an effort by Democrats to bring a marijuana initiative to the floor that would legalize it and set banking rules for its sale for the first time.

The Democrats are pushing to introduce legislation by April that could be considered for votes during the mid-term elections.

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"As majority leader, I can set priorities," Schumer, D-N.Y., said, according to Bloomberg Law. "This is a priority for me."

A letter sent to Democratic colleagues signed by Schumer, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said 18 states have already taken the step to legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use and 37 states have given it medical approval.

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"Hundreds of millions of Americans live in states that have legalized cannabis in some form while it remains illegal at the federal level," the letter said. "This discrepancy leads to confusion and uncertainty and raises significant questions around criminal justice reform, economic development and small business growth, and public health and safety, all of which we believe require some type of federal answer."

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A Pew Research Center study released in April 2021 revealed that 91% of U.S. adults favored medical marijuana use and 60% agreed it should be legalized for recreational use.

The letter asked Democrats to get involved in the legislative process so the bill can be finalized. Politics, though, could get in the way. The Senate is evenly split 50-50 and Democrats will need 10 Republicans to get any marijuana legislation to a vote in the Senate.

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