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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaking during a press conference in March 2021. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Pool/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Politico in an interview this week that the Senate will work toward federal marijuana reform legislation — including legalization — with or without President Biden's support.

Why it matters: Biden has in the past opposed federal marijuana legalization citing a lack of evidence on whether it is a gateway drug. He has instead favored decriminalizing the drug, federally legalizing medical marijuana and allowing states to decide whether to legalize recreational use of the drug.

What they're saying: “I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will,” Schumer told Politico. “But at some point we're going to move forward, period.“

  • "I certainly will have an ongoing conversation with [Biden], and tell him how my views evolved. And hope that his will too."
  • "The legalization of states worked out remarkably well. They were a great success. The parade of horribles never came about, and people got more freedom. And people in those states seem very happy."

The big picture: New York, Schumer's home state, became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana earlier this week and is expected to quickly become one of the biggest markets for legal cannabis in the U.S.

  • New Mexico is set to become the 16th state to legalize the drug after the state legislature passed a bill on Wednesday, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she would sign the bill, according to the New York Times.
  • Voters in South Dakota, one of the most Republican states in the country, approved legalizing recreational and medical marijuana in the 2020 election, though Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has opposed the measures and taken steps to block them, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
"I think the American people started speaking with a clear message — more than two to one — that they want the law changed. When a state like South Dakota votes by referendum to legalize, you know something is out there."
— Chuck Schumer

Go deeper

Apr 2, 2021 - Health

White House: Deaths due to drug overdoses hit 88,000 during pandemic

Tablets believed to be laced with fentanyl are displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration Northeast Regional Laboratory in New York. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

The acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Regina LaBelle, on Thursday said that drug deaths increased by 26.8% during the coronavirus pandemic.

What she's saying: "We lost 88,000 people in the 12-month period ending in August 2020," LaBelle said, according to NPR.

Study: Cost of carbon emissions measured in lives lost is high

Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Adding projected heat-related deaths into cost-benefit analysis of federal rules would tilt policymaking in favor of more aggressive carbon emissions cuts, a new study finds.

Why it matters: The social cost of carbon helps determine the outcome of cost-benefit analyses that underpin federal regulations. Adding in global warming's potential to cause more heat-related fatalities would tilt the policy calculus from supporting a gradual phaseout of emissions starting in 2050, to fully decarbonizing by the same year.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

An underwater view of swimmers including Team USA's Caeleb Dressel (R) in the final of the Olympic Tokyo Games men's 100m freestyle on July 29. Photo: François-Xavier Marit/AFP via Getty Images

There's been plenty of Olympics drama on day six of the Tokyo Games Thursday — notably China's women's swimming team beating the U.S. and Australia in the record-setting 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

The big picture: Katie Ledecky helped the U.S. win silver, which also beat the previous world record smashed by China's team. Team USA grabbed two more swimming gold medals, when Caeleb Dressel won the men's 100m freestyle and Bobby Finke triumphed in the first men's Olympic 800m freestyle.