Friday, October 7, 2022

GOP Congressman Says Democrats Are To Blame For Marijuana Legalization Delay

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “Democrats, particularly the Congressional Black Caucus,” are to be blamed for cannabis still being a Schedule I drug.

By Jelena Martinovic

As we approach the end of another year that failed to see marijuana legalized on the federal level, there’s a bit of blame-shifting going on between the leading parties.

According to a GOP congressman, Democrats are responsible for Congress’ inability to pass a federal marijuana legalization bill, Marijuana Moment writes.

GOP Attacks Marijuana Decriminalization Bill, Questioning Democrat Priorities Amid Pandemic
Photo by Andy Feliciotti via Unsplash

What Happened

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said last week during an episode of his Firebrand podcast that “Democrats, particularly the Congressional Black Caucus,” are to be blamed for cannabis still being a Schedule I drug — considered to be more dangerous than opioids, while offering no medical benefits.

He’s been critical of Democrats who’ve insisted that legalization measures contain specific equity provisions poised to address the consequences of the War on Drugs, emphasizing that they might be unnecessary and only holding up the adoption of long-anticipated and bipartisan-supported federal cannabis reform.

Why It Matters

Gaetz was one of few House Republicans who voted in favor of the MORE Act last year, a piece of legislation that could effectively decriminalize marijuana on a federal level. On the other hand, nearly every Democrat in the House voted to legalize cannabis, thus leading the charge on legalization.

RELATED: GOP Lawmakers Call On Biden And Harris To End Silence On Cannabis Legalization

The congressmen also shared his thoughts on the history of drug criminalization and the congressional response to the opioid epidemic, arguing that Democrats have been “fixated on opioids” in the 117th Congress —introducing numerous pieces of legislation aimed at mitigating the crisis— but they “can’t move the marijuana bill successfully.”

legal cannabis
Photo by MmeEmil / Getty Images

RELATED: President Biden Comes Under Pressure From All Sides Over His Cannabis Legalization Stance

However, the latest breakthrough in the field came from the two Republican lawmakers who recently introduced new legislation in the House of Senate poised to further streamline research of Schedule I drugs like marijuana and psilocybin.

What’s Next

Halt All Lethal Trafficking of (HALT) Fentanyl Act is set to limit trafficking of powerful opioid. Filed by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), the companion bills also include provisions to streamline the research process for all Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, with the strict category including psychedelics like LSD, mescaline, and MDMA, besides cannabis.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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