Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday that he would introduce legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, marking a significant shift in policy for the Democratic leader and lending the movement to lower government barriers to the drug a powerful ally.

The top congressional Democrat told VICE News in an interview set to air Thursday night that legislation to increase access to marijuana is “long overdue” and that far “too many people” have been affected by the government’s crackdown on the drug.

“I’ll be introducing legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level from one end of the country to the other,” Schumer said, according to a clip of the interview released by the outlet.

He added: “I’ve seen too many people’s lives ruined because they had small amounts of marijuana and served time in jail, much too long. Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do. Freedom.”

Schumer’s announcement comes as the Trump administration has moved to limit the proliferation of legislation to decriminalize and legalize marijuana at the state level. Earlier this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era initiative that paved the way for states to pass more laws expanding access to the drug. [Read more @ Politico]

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