The 2020 presidential election is a big deal for a lot of reasons. First, it will be a chance for the liberal-minded U.S. population to run President Trump out on a rail – preventing him from invoking his Rein of Twitter for a second term. Secondly, the election makes the first time in history that the majority of the Democratic candidates support marijuana legalization on a grand scale. We’re talking about ending prohibition nationwide and allowing the herb to be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. Never before has any presidential candidate been so progressive on this issue, at least not outside of Bill Clinton admitting that he used marijuana but “did not inhale” and Barack Obama saying “when I was a kid, I inhaled frequently.”
But the upcoming election is destined to go down in the history books as the one that put legal weed inside the homes of average Americans. It will show the population that the experiment is over and many of the nation’s leaders are now in favor of common sense pot policies never before seen in this country.
A handful of Democrats have been fighting for cannabis reform on Capitol Hill for the past several years, but the issue is still considered too taboo to make its way through the ranks of the legislative chambers. But those same lawmakers are now taking their shot at the presidency. Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Kristin Gillibrand have all tossed their hat into the ring in hopes of dethroning the Donald. New Jersey Democrat Corey Booker has also joined the circus. Presumably, the consensus is if Trump can run the Oval Office without getting up getting the country nuked up, how much could any one else possibly fuck it up?
All of the Democratic candidates have stood behind far-reaching marijuana reforms during their time on the Hill. Senator Harris not only believes that “making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do,” but she also supports eliminating policies designed to punish minor pot offenders. When it comes to legalizing weed across the U.S., Senator Warren, the first to announce her bid for the presidency, wants to eliminate the cannabis plant entirely from the Controlled Substances Act and allow it to become part of legitimate commerce. So does Senator Gillibrand for that matter. In addition, she would also like to create a system that erases the criminal records of those people caught up in Uncle Sam’s failed war on weed.
Senator Booker has made marijuana legalization one of his primary objectives over the past few years. He’s the one behind many of highly publicized bills introduced in Congress, like the popular STATES Act and the Marijuana Justice Act. But his mission is not just to legalize the leaf, allowing states to legalize without the threat of federal interference, he also wants to punish jurisdictions that continue to arrest pot offenders. Basically, communities that want to continue redneck tactics against stoners would not receive as much funding as states taking a more liberal approach.
Some of the latest national polls show that more than 60 percent of the American population now supports the idea of allowing marijuana to be handled the same as alcohol and tobacco. It has been said that once the support resides consistently in that range, Congress will have no choice but to give some consideration. Many advocates believe 2019 will be the year this finally happens – this is mainly due to Democrats having gained back control of the U.S. House of Representatives. There are now more cannabis supporters in the lower chamber than ever before.
But there are still too many opposing forces to prevent nationwide legalization from taking hold real soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed no interest in moving forward with legal weed. So even if a bill moves through the House, it would likely be snuffed out in the Senate
But this is where President Trump could chime in.
There is speculation among the Democratic Party that the Twitter In Chief may use marijuana reform as a way to snatch his reelection. Just last year, Representative Earl Blumenauer, the founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, wrote Democratic leadership, begging them to make marijuana legalization a key issue in 2019 or else he worried they would lose the glory to the Republicans.
“If we fail to act swiftly, I fear as the 2020 election approaches, Donald Trump will claim credit for our work in an effort to shore up support — especially from young voters,” Blumenauer wrote. “Democrats must seize the moment.”
Although Trump has been mostly silent when it comes to whether the U.S. should legalize weed, he did say last year that he would “probably” sign Senator Booker’s STATES Act if it crossed his desk.
But it almost seems that his administration is shaping up to more pot-friendly than it has been over the past two years.
Trump’s Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, is considered by cannabis advocates to be mostly good on marijuana. Furthermore, the president’s nominee for Attorney General of the United States, William Barr, recently committed to not siccing the Department of Justice on marijuana operations that adhere to state laws.
“To the extent people are complying with the state laws in distribution and production and so forth, we’re not going to go after that,” he said during his confirmation hearing. This is a significant shift from the crackdown chatter the cannabis scene experienced under former attorney general Jeff Sessions.
While it is true that Congress may make some progress this year concerning marijuana legalization, both chambers are probably going to struggle to come to terms enough to pass a law. Right now, they are busy trying to figure out how to pay for Trump’s border wall to prevent another government shutdown. This alone has been enough to avert pot reform on the Hill this year, according to Representative Blumenauer. “We really did just get knocked back on our heels in terms of having this insanity” he said. Although Democratic leadership was entertaining the potential of tackling marijuana reform, they have since been “waylaid” by Trump’s “madness,” he added.
Nevertheless, the 2020 election is going to put the marijuana legalization in the national spotlight. Right now, 10 states have legalized for recreational use, with others like New York and Illinois expected to follow this year. It is conceivable that more adults in the country will have access to legal weed before the end of 2019 than those who do not. Therefore, any presidential candidate that chooses to go against the grain of this cannabis issue is setting his or herself up for miserable failure – and yes, that includes King Trump. We are going to see a situation where no matter who wins the presidency next year, marijuana will remain more than ever on the path to full-blown legalization. It’s just a question of whether the federal government will take a regulatory role in this matter or simply allow states to proceed without Uncle Sam’s leash.
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