The New York Democrat has repeatedly promised a vote on cannabis reform, promising to tee it up even if President Joe Biden does not get on board. But that goal, which Schumer underlined with a public celebration Tuesday of an unofficial but widely marked marijuana holiday, means little if the majority leader can't corral the votes for passage in his own caucus. And two Democrats told POLITICO that they oppose removing federal penalties on marijuana.
"I don't support legalizing marijuana," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said in an interview. "We're in the middle of an opioid epidemic, and the research that I've seen suggests that that is a way that more people get into drugs."
Sen. Jon Tester of Montana was similarly unenthusiastic about ending federal marijuana penalties. Legalization would "cause more problems than it solves," Tester said.
Schumer can't afford to lose a single vote on his side of the aisle in his legalization push, and that's before an even tougher battle to win over Republicans who have little interest in working with Democrats. If Schumer can't find a path to Senate passage this year, with a midterm election that's historically not been kind to the president's party, it could mean a long delay before pot is legal in the U.S. — even as 18 states have embraced full legalization...