Chuck Schumer calls 4/20 an ‘unofficial American holiday’ as he makes the case for marijuana legalization

chuck schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called 4/20 an “unofficial American holiday.”
  • The top Democrat made his case to “end the federal prohibition on marijuana.”
  • April 20 is usually a day weed users celebrate the recreational drug.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As weed users across the country celebrate April 20 on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer marked the occasion as an “unofficial American holiday” and made his case for marijuana legalization.

“Today is what you might call a very unofficial American holiday: 4/20,” the top Democrat said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “It’s as appropriate a time as any to take a hard look at our laws that have over-criminalized the use of marijuana and put it on par with heroin, LSD and other narcotics that bear little or no resemblance in their effects either on individuals or on society more broadly.”

Schumer described the disproportionate effect that drug laws have had on people of color over the past decades, prompting the need for a “comprehensive reform effort.”

Young men and women “have been arrested and jailed for even carrying a small amount of marijuana – a charge that often came with exorbitant penalties and a serious criminal record, from which they might never recover,” Schumer said. “It makes no sense and it’s time for a change.”

The New York Democrat said he soon plans to craft legislation that would “end the federal prohibition on marijuana” and “ensure restorative justice.”

Marijuana arrests make up more than half of all drug arrests in the United States, according to an analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union. The data showed that Black people are nearly four times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana.

Public support for cannabis reform has grown in recent years as several states have moved to end restrictions on the recreational drug. A Gallup poll in November revealed that a majority of Americans -68% – are in favor of legalization.

Thirty-six states have already legalized medical marijuana, and 16 states, along with Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21. New York, Schumer’s home state, joined that list in March.

Schumer has previously made clear his intentions to act on federal marijuana legalization, even if President Joe Biden is reluctant to. Biden has yet to embrace the position.

“Hopefully the next time this unofficial holiday of 4/20 rolls around, our country will have made progress in addressing the massive over-criminalization of marijuana in a meaningful and comprehensive way,” Schumer said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that Biden “supports leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states.”

On the federal level, Biden backs “decriminalizing marijuana use and automatically expunging any prior criminal records,” and “legalizing medical marijuana,” Psaki added.

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4 free perks you can get after getting vaccinated, from doughnuts to free CDC card lamination and beer

covid-19 vaccine card
Covid-19 vaccine cards help you remember when to get your second shot.

  • Some companies are giving customers free rewards for getting vaccinated.
  • Krispy Kreme and Staples have publicly promised doughnuts and laminated CDC cards.
  • Smaller businesses, like dispensaries, are also giving away local perks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As more Americans become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, some companies are offering perks for customers who can prove they’ve been inoculated.

Some employers are also offering incentives for employees to get vaccinated, as Insider has covered. These perks, though, are available to anyone.

Read more: Is it a crime to give away leftover COVID shots? Doctors and other healthcare workers fear legal consequences as they wait for Justice Department guidance.

Krispy Kreme

krispy kreme doughnuts
Krispy Kreme doughnuts go into production at the opening of the store at Harrods in London, October, 3, 2003.

Krispy Kreme will give away a free glazed doughnut to anyone who comes in with a COVID-19 vaccination card through the end of 2021, the company announced Monday.

“Whatever little things brands can do to help make it past the pandemic are good things,” Chief Marketing Office Dave Skena told Insider in a phone call. There are no limits on the free doughnuts, so a vaccinated person could potentially go every day.

Staples

staples
A family leaves the Staples store in Broomfield, Colorado Aug. 17, 2011 as the back-to-school shopping season begins.

Staples is offering free lamination of vaccine cards around the country to help with safekeeping.

Cards can be laminated after the holder receives the second dose, for vaccines that require two doses, Staples told Insider. The offer is valid through May 1, an extension from the earlier April 3 date.

Sam Adams

Sam Adams created craft beer craze

Samuel Adams says it will buy a beer for the first 10,000 people to share evidence of their COVID-19 vaccine on social media beginning April 12. Then the company will send $7 through Cash App to buy a beer. The promotion is called #ShotsforSam.

Drop Technologies

amazon gift card

E-commerce company Drop is giving $50 credits to people who take a vaccine selfie with #DropCovid and tag @JoinDrop on Instagram. The credits can be redeemed for gift cards to Amazon, Uber, Door Dash, and Sephora.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Nebraska governor claims legalizing medical marijuana will ‘kill your children’

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts delivers the annual State of the State Address to lawmakers in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts delivers the annual State of the State Address to lawmakers in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.

  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said legalizing medical marijuana would lead to kids dying.
  • Ricketts was citing a study that connected more frequent marijuana use among kids who die by suicide and states that already have legalized marijuana.
  • His remarks come as Nebraska’s state legislature weighs a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The governor of Nebraska pushed back on the state’s consideration of legalizing medical marijuana, claiming it would lead to the death of their kids.

“This is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said during a news briefing Wednesday. “If you legalize marijuana, you’re gonna kill your kids. That’s what the data shows from around the country.”

Asked to elaborate on the data by USA TODAY, a spokesperson for Ricketts pointed to two studies that concluded teens who died by suicide in multiple states that had legalized marijuana used it more frequently.

His remarks come as Nebraska’s state legislature weighs a bill that would make legal medical marijuana that’s recommended by a practicing physician. The idea is that physicians would have control over their patients’ marijuana consumption, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Though Ricketts’ linked his claim to recreational marijuana, the bill being weighed would allow residents to use and consume medical marijuana in the form of pills or oils. Smoking marijuana would not be legalized upon this bill’s passing.

Marijuana is federally designated as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use.” However, “THC itself has proven medical benefits in particular formulations,” according to the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse. In terms of recreational usage, experts and agencies like the Centers for Disease Control say a “fatal overdose is unlikely.”

Ricketts’ office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

“Big pot, big marijuana is a big industry,” he continued. “This a big industry that is trying not to be regulated, to go around the regulatory process. And that’s going to put people at risk: when you go around regulations that are designed for the health and safety of our society.”

Advocates in favor of the bill’s passing include its sponsor, Lincoln, Nebraska, Sen. Anna Wishart, who on Wednesday delivered an impassioned argument in support, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

“This bill is not going to fail because of a lack of compromise,” Wishart said before the state’s judiciary committee. “If this bill fails to pass, it is because of political pressure from a few who wield their power to stamp out the will of the people. The people will not be silenced.”

If the bill doesn’t pass, Wishart, a Democrat, said she expects activists to propose a ballot initiative that allows Nebraskans to vote. This, in turn, would give physicians less control over marijuana consumption and make it more difficult to regulate.

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So many people visited the website for Seth Rogen’s new marijuana and home-goods company that the site crashed

S&E PR Image w_LOGO (Brown)
  • The website for Seth Rogen’s marijuana business experienced overwhelming traffic in its US launch.
  • The actor and his business partner first launched the brand Houseplant in Canada in 2019.
  • Houseplant is now selling pot and marijuana-related home goods in the US.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On March 1, the actor Seth Rogen announced the US launch of his marijuana company, Houseplant, and said the brand’s strains would soon be available in California.

In addition to its cannabis offerings, Houseplant also sells lighters, ashtrays, and ceramic goods. On Thursday, the brand launched.

By midafternoon, the Houseplant site experienced so much traffic that it crashed, and the brand set up a “waiting room” for customers looking to get access to the site.

Less than an hour later, Rogen tweeted that the site had been taken offline to get it in better shape to support all the traffic. He told fans that many of the Houseplant products were still available.

Houseplant initially launched in Canada in May 2019. The launch on Thursday marked a move to the US market for Rogen and his longtime writing and business partner Evan Goldberg, as well as the brand’s CEO, Michael Mohr, a venture capitalist.

The brand sells bespoke strains of cannabis, which are packaged to look like vintage records. Rogen shared photos of a block-shaped lighter and ceramics from the brand on his social-media accounts as well.

Rogen told Architectural Digest that Houseplant was “trying to really consider people who smoke weed in a way that they have not been considered before.”

“Just like alcohol has martini shakers, wine glasses, and corkscrews. If you are someone who smokes weed, there is really none of that,” he said.

Houseplant_Block Table Lighter_Lifestyle_Photographer Peter Novosel

A press release said that after Houseplant’s launch, the brand would be releasing new products from the “Housegoods” line “every few weeks.”

“We are thrilled by how insanely positive the response has been so far – we have been completely inundated with interest and requests, and our site has been overwhelmed with the amount of traffic,” a Houseplant spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Insider. “We are working hard to get the website back up and running again, and will be in communication with our customers all along the way to provide the best experience possible.”

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