Federal lawmakers are hoping to drag marijuana out of the pits of prohibition during the 2018 session. To do this, however, the conversation over the legalization of a nationwide cannabis trade must happen in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. A group of democrats from the lower chamber did their part earlier this week by introducing a companion measure to Senator Cory Booker’s infamous Marijuana Justice Act.
The proposal, which was brought to the table by Representatives Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna of California, is designed to eliminate the cannabis plant from the confines of the Controlled Substances Act. It would also establish funds for communities of color, which are statistically those most affected by marijuana-related arrests. Representative Lee calls the bill “ a bold proposal to reverse decades of discriminatory drug enforcement and bring federal marijuana policy in line with the wishes of the people.”
And the people definitely want legal weed.
The latest Gallup poll shows that 64 percent of the American population believes marijuana should be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco. Considering that only a third of the population had the guts to come out in favor of marijuana legalization at the turn of the new millennium, there has been a huge shift in attitude over the past twenty years.
By all accounts, if the latest bill were put to a public vote, it would have no trouble seeing the light of day. The citizens of this great nation are good with the concept of marijuana being sold in dispensaries like beer. And they would jump at the chance to castrate US Attorney General’s mission to crackdown on cannabis and pull marijuana offenders out of the prison system.
According to Senator Booker, the proposal does the complete opposite of what federal lawmakers set out to so in 1994 with the crime bill. The Marijuana Justice Act gives states the incentive to end marijuana prohibition and launch fully legal pot markets.
Although there is more support these days for this issue on Capitol Hill, there is still not nearly enough to bring marijuana into the realm of national commerce. Some of the same polls indicating public enthusiasm for changing the country’s pot laws also show a great deal of apprehension on the part of Republicans. Only around half of the party supports legal weed as an ethos. Yet, that doesn’t mean these folks are prepared to take a stand on the subject in DC.
Even Democrats are holding back the gates of federal marijuana reform. While many of them are fully prepared to crack skulls if the Justice Department actually does crackdown on marijuana states, many of them want very little to do with passing this reform nationwide.
And then there is President Trump. If the bill were to clear Congress, chances are the Donald would not sign it into law. Neither he nor his administration has shown a willingness to end prohibition.
But it would make America great again.
Some of the latest data shows that marijuana legalization in all 50 states would create over one million jobs and contribute more than $131 billion in federal tax revenue. All in, the nation would experience billions in economic growth each year following this reform.