Growing Bi-Partisan Support on Heels of Obama Calling New Laws Legalizing Marijuana in Colorado and Washington 'Important'
NEW YORK: Today, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) expressed his support for allowing states to move forward with taxing and regulating marijuana, telling MSNBC that "having the states experiment is a good idea."
Schumer, the senior U.S. Senator from New York and the third ranking Democrat in the Senate, made the statement just days after similar comments by Texas Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Perry, defended the right of Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana and said that Texas had implemented "policies that start us toward a decriminalization." Perry was speaking on a panel about drug policy along with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, who both spoke out in favor of significant drug policy reform.
While Schumer and Perry do not as yet support legalizing marijuana either in their own states or nationally, both now support the rights of individual states to enact and implement such laws free from federal interference.
Another governor to make headlines for supporting marijuana policy reform is New York's Andrew Cuomo, who recently came out in favor of medical marijuana. Yesterday, Cuomo's top aide told a reporter that if the New York state legislature passes the comprehensive medical marijuana bill currently under consideration, the governor would support it.
Schumer, Cuomo and Perry have joined a growing number of high-ranking officials - including President Barack Obama -- expressing their support for states to move forward in reforming broken marijuana policies. In an interview last week with The New Yorker, President Barack Obama called the legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington "important," and went on to note that society should not "have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished."
Statement by Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance:
"What makes the recent comments by Senator Schumer and Governor Perry so significant is not just that they are among the two most influential leaders in their respective parties but that both have generally favored repressive drug policies to date," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "This rapidly emerging bipartisan support for allowing states to enact and implement marijuana legalization laws, free from federal interference, gives much needed support to the Obama administration's constructive steps in recent months."