It was just a little over a week ago when two cannabis advocates stormed the offices of Congressman Andy Harris and, had it not been for the solid doors they put on those workshops of the inept, they would have surely beaten him within an inch of his life. This uprising and temporary lapse of sanity comes after decades of pot prohibition, years of conflicting state and federal laws and absolutely no action for marijuana reform from either the U.S. House or Senate. A report last week from Forbes suggested that maybe the cannabis advocacy community would soon resort to violence, perhaps employing “rubber hoses,” to strong-arm lawmakers into finally taking a stand on this all-important issue. We can’t say that sounds like a bad idea.
The threat of Congress being ripped from Capitol Hill and spanked on the lawn by thousands of angry cannabis advocates has some federal lawmakers talking about just how soon we could witness the crumbling of nationwide marijuana prohibition. Last week, U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California told Fox News that the White House has plans to make some level of cannabis reform following the midterm elections.
“I have been talking to people inside the White House who know and inside the president’s entourage… I have talked to them at length,” Rohrabacher said. “I have been reassured that the president intends on keeping his campaign promise.”
But to what extent would this so-called reform go?
Some earlier reports have suggested that the Trump Administration would make a push to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, while others mentioned it would involve a modest proposal aimed at giving states the right to legalize without the possibility of federal interference. It is the latter that seems more likely than anything.
Over the summer, President Trump told a group of reporters that he would “probably” support a bill aimed at eliminating federal enforcement from those states choosing to legalize marijuana for whatever reason. The measure that Trump was speaking of is called the STATES Act Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States). Although it would not legalize marijuana at the national level, it would prevent the federal government from dropping the hammer on the cannabis industry or any of the companies opting to do business with them. It is this piece of legislation that is expected to make its way to the desk of the president in the coming months.
“I would expect after the election we will sit down and we’ll start hammering out something that is specific and real,” Rohrabacher said. “It could be as early as spring of 2019, but definitely in the next legislative session.”
Although the STATES Act has yet to receive a lick of attention since its introduction, lawmakers close to the situation believe the bill will be given new life in the 2019 session. This is because Democrats are expected to take back control of the U.S. House in the next month. Some of the latest polls show that as long as voters turn out for the midterm election, Democrats are in a position to take over 226 House seats come November. The Party needs 218 seats to become the majority.
If this happens, Democrats will get behind legislation to change the nation’s marijuana laws, according to U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer.
“With Democrats in control, we will be able to have the legislative process work and we’ll see more progress in a relatively short order, I think,” he told Bloomberg. “These will be some of the easiest things to do in the first six months of a new Congress because they’re supported by the public, the legislation is already teed up and ready to go. It’s one of these areas of progress that will show we can get our act together and move forward.”
Just how easy it will be to move cannabis reform forward in the United States remains to be seen. Although the issue of total legalization is, in fact, supported by more than 60 percent of the population, Congress has not exactly proven itself to be a beacon of hope. Reports over the past year have indicated that both Democrats and Republicans are responsible for sandbagging the issue. But if they can miraculously get a proposal in front of President Trump, like or hate his clown shoe politics, there is a tremendous chance that he will support the measure in ink. After all, to be the President who gives people the freedom to use marijuana would be one for the big league.
But it’s going to take everyone working together in Washington to get it done. The only thing President Trump can do on his own regarding marijuana reform is to initiate the process of it being rescheduled on the Controlled Substances Act. It would actually take an act of Congress to eliminate the herb altogether from it outlaw status. But, according to Representative Blumenauer, that’s on the horizon.
“It’s simpler than health care or global warming,” he said. “I think it’s a no-brainer. I think it moves in the next six months.”
If not, perhaps rubber hose justice will be applied?
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