Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a statement called the move "simply the right thing to do."
"The time has come to decriminalize marijuana," Schumer said. "My thinking — as well as the general population's views — on the issue has evolved, and so I believe there's no better time than the present to get this done. It's simply the right thing to do."
Schumer first shared his intentions Thursday in an interview with Vice News Tonight on HBO, in which he decried the negative effects of current marijuana laws, under which the drug has the same legal classification as heroin. He said too many people caught with small amounts of marijuana had spent too much time in jail and that current laws have had a disproportionate effect on minority communities.