Some federal lawmakers are under the impression that they carry enough weight in Washington D.C. to bring down eight decades of marijuana prohibition in the United States.
On Thursday, four U.S. Congressmen stood up during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol to officially announce the launch of their “Cannabis Caucus.” The mission, according to its members, which includes Republicans Dana Rohrabacher and Don Young, as well as Democrats Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis, is to cleverly persuade Congress to finally see the light with respect to illegal marijuana business, forcing the majority to take the necessary action to allow the substance to be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol on a federal level.
"We're stepping forward together to say we've got to make major changes in our country's attitude toward cannabis," Rohrabacher said. "And if we do, many people are going to live better lives, it's going to be better for our country, better for people, and it makes economic sense at a time when every penny must count for government."
The group, which consists of the only four lawmakers on Capitol Hill to consistently fight for nationwide legalization, believes that since marijuana is now legal in some fashion in over half the country, they might have a decent chance at taking the issue to the national level.
But does this so-called Cannabis Caucus really have the power to make a difference? Probably not.
When it was first revealed last week that the Congressional Cannabis Caucus was being assembled, there was some hope that it would consist of at least one member who has not previously stood in support of marijuana legalization. But while the group has reportedly received a few thumbs up from various colleges, it does not appear than any other congressional figures have signed on to help push for pot reform in 2017.
Still, the group plans to resurrect several marijuana-related bills this session that have been lingering in congressional purgatory for the past few years. As MERRY JANE reported last week, one of the proposals is the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” which was first introduced in 2015 by Representative Polis. The bill is designed to eliminate marijuana from the confines of the Controlled Substances Act and allow it to be manufactured and sold like other socially accepted inebriants.
“I’m more hopeful than ever before that we can move legislation like the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” Polis said.
But getting Congress to view marijuana in the same way it does alcohol is still a far stretch. Even with 60 percent of the American population now standing in support for full legalization, democracy is not being represented on the Hill. It is going to take much more support in both the U.S. House and Senate before marijuana becomes a serious discussion, much less a part of mainstream American commerce.
For now, no one seems to know whether the Trump Administration is even going to permit the legal cannabis trade to operate without federal interference, and the chances of getting President Trump to stand in support of nationwide legalization are slim to none. After all, he did select Jeff Sessions, a radical opponent of drug reform, to be his U.S. Attorney General. The president also just renewed the War on Drugs, vowing to use his wall along the U.S./ Mexico border to clean up the nation.
The Cannabis Caucus, which has been hyped up almost as much as another group a couple of years ago that vowed to legalized “medical marijuana” across the nation through the passing of the CARERS Act, recently told the Denver Post that it is “cautiously hopeful” the Trump Administration will simply allow marijuana legalization to continue as a states rights issue. So far, President Trump has not given any indication that he will direction AG Sessions to tear down the cannabis trade.
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In addition to nationwide legalization, the Cannabis Caucus says its will also focus on more realistic items pertaining to legal marijuana, like banking, taxes, employment and enforcement.
Best of luck fellas… you’re going to need it.