It’s not just the Republicans standing in the way of progress. The truth of the matter is there are still plenty of Democrats who oppose marijuana as well.
Marijuana. It is now more popular in the United States than sliced bread, baseball, and reality television. Somewhere around 90% of the nation’s population believes weed should be legal for adults 21 and older — the same as alcohol and tobacco — and that Uncle Sam should find a way to capitalize on it and force police to focus on actual crime.
So far, around 17 states have legalized it in this manner, so there’s just no stopping it now. Well, not exactly. Regardless of how much steam the cannabis movement is gaining at the state level, the case for pot just can’t seem to find the support it needs federally to finally become a legitimate part of American commerce. Congress is still far too divided for nationwide cannabis legalization to go all the way.
There seems to be all sorts of bipartisan support for cannabis reform on Capitol Hill. The public gets bombarded every week with pro-weed headlines suggesting that Democrats and Republicans are tirelessly working together to end marijuana prohibition across the U.S. once and for all. While there is a sliver of truth in this news, the reality is it’s just a handful of congressmen focused on changing the federal pot laws. To that end, even those who seem to side with mega marijuana reforms do not necessarily support it all the way. Cannabis advocates have been saying for years that as more states legalize the leaf, Republicans will have no choice but to fall in line.
The truth of the matter is that none of them seem to care too much about where the voters are heading with respect to drug reform. While some Republicans favor limited action, most would not vote to legalize marijuana at the federal level.
“I oppose it,” Montana Senator Steve Daines told Politico. Daines admits that he supports the SAFE Banking Act — a measure that would allow cannabis operations to do business with financial institutions — but he refuses to get behind any effort to end federal marijuana prohibition. “The people in Montana decided they want to have it legal in our state, and that’s why I support the SAFE Banking Act as well — it’s the right thing to do — but I don’t support federal legalization.”
The news source says it talked with a dozen GOP Senators representing states with medical and recreational marijuana laws, and none would commit to voting in favor of nationwide legalization. A few said they were open to the possibility of decriminalization, but certainly not a taxed and regulated market. No way. It means that cannabis advocates must try to find hope in something else, because Republicans do not give two flying squirts if their constituents are pro-weed.
It’s not just the Republicans standing in the way of progress. The truth of the matter is there are still plenty of Democrats who oppose marijuana as well. Democratic Senators Jon Tester and Jeanne Shaheen are among them. As far as we know, so are Senators Joe Manchin and Sherrod Brown. Others will likely stand up in opposition if Senator Chuck Schumer ever musters up the guts to introduce that comprehensive cannabis reform bill that he’s been talking about for the past five months.
Schumer came out hot at the beginning of his role as Majority Leader, saying that marijuana reform would be a priority for the Senate. But he’s mostly had his behind handed to him, as Senate Republicans have continued to flex the filibuster to keep any and all legislation from passing. Schumer can’t even get his own party to support bringing an end to this Senate rule to further the whole of the Democratic agenda. Senators Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema won’t go along with it even if he tries.
Let’s be clear, Schumer needs every Democratic member to vote in favor of ending the filibuster to destroy it. He also needs them if he wants to legalize weed. But because a marijuana bill would also require some Republican support — at least 10 votes — it has become painfully evident over the past few months that the Democrats can’t and won’t legalize marijuana this year.