There is now more Congressional support for cannabis-related issues than ever before.
According to a recent analysis, co-sponsorships for marijuana measures, specifically those seeking to provide banking solutions for the cannabis industry, have already surpassed the level of support they received throughout previous sessions.
The first marijuana banking bill, introduced in April by Congressman Ed Perlmutter, has managed to secure 47 co-sponsors in the 2017 session – that’s nearly 10 more than the bill had in its pocket when Congress called it quits toward the end of last year. The second measure, brought to the table by Senator Jeff Merkley, has already gained more co-sponsors in the past month than it did in the entire 2014 session.
The report shows there has also been a spike in support for marijuana-related bills tied to federal tax laws. Several of these measures have gained more backing so far this year than in times past.
This shift in support is largely credited to cannabis industry lobbyists, who have been in Washington D.C for the past few years working to educate lawmakers on the importance of addressing these issues.
“The more Congress gets to know the real, responsible entrepreneurs of the cannabis industry, the more support there is for them to be treated fairly and for state laws to be respected,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “Our members embrace their roles as both businesspeople and advocates, and we’ve seen a real spike in energy and excitement around that advocacy work this year. It’s great to see it paying off.”
Unfortunately, while marijuana banking and tax laws are starting to finally receive more attention on the Hill, there is still not enough Congressional support for measures aimed at pulling the nation out of the trenches of prohibition. The “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” introduced by Congressman Jared Polis, currently has only 11 co-sponsors, while the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act,” submitted by Representative Thomas Garrett, only has 12.
Similar bills introduced in the past have welcomed just over 20 co-sponsors – far from enough to pull the marijuana legalization debate into the realm of mainstream politics.