Marijuana legalization got a boost on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as a trio of rising stars in the Senate launched an effort to rewrite federal drug laws.
The push to decriminalize at least the medical use of marijuana came from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
Their move comes as another sign of how rapidly the politics of marijuana are shifting on Capitol Hill. Long an issue avoided by lawmakers with big political ambitions, marijuana legalization now presents opportunities to make inroads with new voters.
More than half of the American electorate now live in places where medical marijuana is legal, and millions of those voters are in states where recreational use is also permitted.
Under the proposal by the three senators, the federal prohibition on medical marijuana would be lifted. States that allow it would no longer be operating in defiance of federal law.