Long the mortal enemy of legal marijuana – now some members of the GOP are champions.
Traditionally, the GOP has been the nemesis of expanded marijuana legalization. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been proud of preventing national movement. They party also has been quick to blame cannabis use for everything including mass shooting and the fentanyl crisis. But over the last couple of years, a few Republican champions have emerged and it is a bit startling.
The cannabis industry held its breathe with the election of the Biden/Harris ticket. Vice President Harris had been a foe and there was fear about what would happen when they entered office. The reality is nothing happened. Despite Biden’s promise of helping, it took 3 years for him to consider cannabis rescheduling. He has refused to nudge Congress to support federal legalization and Harris has remains out of site.
In a surprise to most, Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, came out in support of the taxation and regulation of recreational cannabis. DC is overseen by Congress and has been begging for statehood for generations. Currently, they still have the federal elected overseeing how parts of the city are run. In 2014, Nearly two-thirds of D.C. voters favored legalizing recreational marijuana for in a 2014 ballot initiative. In the District, the possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana is decriminalized for residents 21 years or older for recreational or medical use, according to the district’s marijuana laws. Comer is very open to following the voter wishes.
Also, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) reintroduced the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) 2.0 Act, signaling a renewed effort to end federal marijuana prohibition in states where it is legal. And it is being driven by Republicans. Co-sponsored by Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Brian Mast (R-FL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Troy Carter (D-LA), it goes beyond decriminalizing state cannabis programs by proposing a federal tax-and-regulate framework for the cannabis industry.
You also have Rep Nancy Mace (R-SC) has lead efforts for SAFE Banking and more and has worked across the aisle to support the cannabis industry.
While this is a good sign, it doesn’t mean it has full throttle support from the GOP. Ohio is a a hot mess as Republicans feel voters were confused when 70% voted and passed recreational marijuana, they are now working to gut it. They can learn from Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) who told Florida voters who doesn’t care 70% voted for cannabis, he knows better.
There is a saying about politics make strange bedfellows, I guess marijuana makes odd cannabis buddies.