The upcoming midterm election presents an opportunity for the Democrats to take back Congress and dictate federal policy on a number of key legislative issues. One of those issues is cannabis legalization and reform. Democrats have been vocal this year about cannabis, often platforming on expansion of current legislation in legal states or creating marijuana programs where none exist.
But would a Democrat-controlled Congress push forward on cannabis legalization at the federal level? When asked by journalist Matt Laslo if Democrats would make cannabis reform a priority after positive election results, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said it’s all up to Donald Trump.
“Well, the marijuana initiatives have received bipartisan support on the floor of the House,” Pelosi responded, in a reference to amendments that protect state medical marijuana laws. “I don’t know where the president is on any of this. So any decision about how we go forward would have to reflect where we can get the result.
“But any success we could have would depend on the public weighing in,” she said. “Again, you’ve heard me say it, over and over: Public sentiment is everything.”
Pelosi has not been firm publicly in her position or plan regarding cannabis reform. Her second-in-command, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), told Laslo earlier last week that if the Democrats win in November, there isn’t any indication of pushing cannabis legislation to the floor.
“We haven’t talked about that,” Hoyer said.
“We haven’t talked about that,” Steny Hoyer says of whether Democrats under Pelosi would bring marijuana legislation to the floor if they win in November
— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) September 25, 2018
Another roadblock preventing cannabis legislation reaching the floor could be removed this election. That obstacle would be Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX). He’s the Chairman of the House Rules Committee, and has blocked many marijuana-related amendments and bills from, professing marijuana hatred any chance he gets.
But his time could be up soon. Polls have shown a neck-and-neck race between Sessions and his Democrat challenger Colin Allred. So change could be coming in Congress as relates to cannabis. What the plan will be remains up to interpretation.