Psaki: Biden unmoved on marijuana legalization despite Schumer legislation

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President Joe Biden still opposes marijuana legalization, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday, putting him at odds with Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill as it advances legislation to end the federal prohibition on pot.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer unveiled draft legislation Wednesday that would legalize marijuana as well as expunge non-violent criminal records related to marijuana. Schumer's proposal, cosponsored by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) would allow states to decide whether or not to legalize the drug.

Asked about the majority leader's proposal, Psaki told reporters at her Wedesday press briefing that Biden’s stance on marijuana legalization hasn’t changed. The president has previously supported marijuana decriminalization, but hasn’t gone so far as to support legalization.

“I have spoken in the past about the president’s views on marijuana,” Psaki told the White House press corps, adding, “nothing has changed. There’s no new endorsements of legislation to report today.”

Asked again about cannabis later in the briefing, Psaki said she hadn’t spoken with the president about this specific piece of legislation — but again reiterated that Biden’s position hasn’t changed.

The president has spoken about mass incarceration in the past, saying during his campaign that marijuana offenses shouldn’t land Americans in jail. But the White House also made headlines for firing staffers early in Biden’s term for marijuana use, earning the president criticism from marijuana legalization advocates.

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