It has been six years since Colorado and Washington became the first states in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Since then, the people have been asking a variety of questions about the issue, like when will the federal government get off its saggy tuckus and implement this kind of pot reform at the national level? Make no mistake about it, Uncle Sam and his grey-haired cronies on Capitol Hill are in no hurry to implement a system that allows weed — a Schedule I dangerous drug on the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act — to be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. For whatever reason, the majority of lawmakers are still so frightened about what an endorsement of this magnitude might mean for their career that, even if they do support it, they keep it buried deep down inside, somewhere beneath the mistresses and dead hookers.
It’s not that we’re taking sides, but most of the blame falls on the Republican Party. These Elephant-eared pricks have dominated Congress for years, and they’ve done everything in their power to obstruct the progress of anything branded marijuana reform. Not even modest temporary amendments aimed at castrating federal pot enforcement for legal states have been able to squeeze by the legislative process without this crew of comb-overs unleashing kill tactics.
But all of that stands to change in 2019.
For the first time in almost a decade, Democrats have a chance at taking back control of the U.S. House of Representatives. The latest poll from the Washington Post shows 50 percent of the voters are going for Democrats, 47 percent plan to side with Republicans and 3 percent do not have a goddamn clue what they are doing. So, it is going to be a close race. We’re talking about a real nail-bitter! But if the Democrats can gain enough traction to make it to the top, there is a significant possibility that the issue of federal marijuana legalization will take center stage next year.
Just a few weeks ago, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer submitted his “Blueprint to Legalize Marijuana in the 116th Congress” to Democratic leadership. The lawmaker is trying to convince the Party to make national pot reform a priority in the next legislative session if they happen to nab back the power from the Republicans. “Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis,” he wrote in the memo. “We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November.”
Blumenauer, who is one of the leading voices for cannabis reform in the nation’s capital, believes if the Democrats don’t get their shit together with respect to this important issue, President Donald Trump is going to rally the Republican troops near his reelection and use federal marijuana legalization as sleazy, last ditch effort to gain a second term. “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.”
Therefore, the blueprint proposes that Democrats come out of the gate next year and tackle issues regarding cannabis banking and providing veterans with access to medical marijuana. Once those details are dealt with, the lawmaker wants the Party to tee up legislation aimed at ending marijuana prohibition at the national level. This is something he is confident can happen by September. “With the marijuana policy gap diminished, after months of hearings and markups, the House should pass a full descheduling bill and work with Senate allies to guide the bill through Senate passage,” he wrote.
However, there are a few roadblocks that could turn this plan upside down. First and foremost, the blueprint is contingent on Democrats taking back control of the House. Secondly, the Democratic Party must make marijuana reform part of its agenda. It has not yet said whether it will embrace Blumenauer’s plan. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, if the first two variables go off without a hitch, Senate support would be necessary to make changes. Any proposal pushed through the House must be met with concurrence at the Senate level. And considering that Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, the most powerful man on Capitol Hill, has said “I do not have any plans to endorse the legalization of marijuana,” we imagine the matter will get shut down rather quickly.
Nevertheless, Blumenauer believes the House could change his mind. “While the Senate has been slower on marijuana policy reform than the House and the American people, it now has almost 20 introduced bills in an effort to catch up with the House. We must build on this momentum,” he wrote.
Still, it is true that Republicans could eventually make marijuana reform one of its key issues after years of sandbagging. There is evidence that the party is already discussing this move as part of its mission to maintain control. Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who is now part of a cannabis investment firm, recently told those in attendance of the American Cannabis Summit he has been meeting with lawmakers on the Hill, including President Trump, and his feeling is “we won’t be waiting five years to see the federal government legalize cannabis.”
Although it is difficult to predict at this point when Congress will push to eliminate marijuana prohibition, the wheels seem to be in motion. We can expect to have a better grip on what is to come following the November election. One thing is for sure, this midterm business is an important one. Get out there and vote, kids!
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