Fetterman is committed to legalizing marijuana. Does his recent small change of Senate rules show he can get it done?
John Fetterman (D-PA) is a man to be noticed in the United States Senate. Standing 6’8″, he towers over most other people and his quirky way of dressing in shorts and hoodie is a sharp contrast to the suits around him. Vocal, tough and unabashed, he tells it like it is. And one of the things he shares is marijuana should be legal, and has needled the President and his administration. Now it is seems John Fetterman has encouraged a different change in the Senate. Maybe he can use his influence with Schumer to get SAFE Banking passed.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) directed the Senate’s Sergeant at Arms to no longer enforce the chamber’s informal dress code for its members. The new directive will allow Sen. Fetterman who perfers his dress code over the business attire traditionally required in the chamber.
With Schumer stepping out and changing a long standing tradition for him, maybe Fetterman can use his good will and clout for the cannabis industry. Fetterman has been a proponent of legal marijuana for years. In one of his campaign videos, he explains he was one of the first politicians to voice his support for the drug. “And now years later, I renew that same call for any number of reasons, but most importantly, for the criminal justice aspect of it,” he said.
Reaction to the dress code change has been surprise and disappointment as a bar for decorum has been dropped and the dress code is now no different than a local gas station.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who only recently came around to legal marijuana, is disappointed. She argues the relaxed rules debase the institution of the Senate. “I plan to wear a bikini tomorrow to the Senate floor,” Collins joked. Collins has signed on to the SAFE Banking since legal cannabis in Maine has become a key industry and government revenue.
Fetterman could use his influence with the SAFE Banking Act. Having passed the House 7 times it is a Ground Hog Day of failure in the Senate. It was announced today he Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2023 (S. 1323/H.R. 2891) will be moving forward in the U.S. Senate, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The committee confirmed Sept. 19 that the SAFE Banking Act is scheduled for in-person markup Sept. 27.
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Fetterman released a statement during his campaign, urging Biden to deschedule marijuana. Now is his opportunity to push a a change increase state revenues, leaning into public safety and growing jobs around the country. It seems Biden was not pleased.
Fetterman has been a proponent of legal marijuana through his entire run for office. In one of his campaign videos, he explains he was one of the first politicians to voice his support for the drug. “And now five years later, I renew that same call for any number of reasons, but most importantly, for the criminal justice aspect of it,” he said.
With the relaxing rules, maybe now he can track down senators from legal weed states like Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to sign on as co-sponsors and whip for votes.