The 2018 midterms are fast approaching and Republicans and Democrats are pulling out all of the stops to win votes at the ballot box. One low-key issue under the surface is cannabis with Democrat Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher, both featured speakers at previous International Cannabis Business Conference events, have made the case why their respective parties are better for cannabis law reform.
Republican Pete Sessions of Texas, Chair of the powerful House Rules Committee, has been a major obstacle to any cannabis law reform, and most political observers agree that it would be best that he lost his competitive race. While there is some debate as to what party is best for cannabis legalization (personally, I think that Democratic control is preferred), there is a lot of hope that positive reforms are on the way regardless of the party in control. Ohio State Professor Douglas Berman that covers cannabis policy on his blog, discussed the possibility that Donald Trump could use cannabis legislation to his advantage in 2020 to Marijuana Business Daily:
Berman, the Ohio State law professor, views marijuana legalization as a possible campaign centerpiece in a number of swing states come 2020.
For example, states such as Arizona, Florida and Ohio all might have a recreational marijuana initiative on their 2020 ballots, Berman noted. Those states combined could be critical to winning the presidency.
He offered this scenario:
Trump and the Republicans take a slow walk on cannabis reform until late 2019 or early 2020, then agree on, say, legalizing medical marijuana federally – leaving adult use up to the states. Republicans then try to seize credit, and the wind is taken out of the Democrats’ sails.
While I agree with Rep. Blumenauer that a Democratic-controlled Congress is more likely to move forward with cannabis legalization, it is imperative that people hold their elected officials’ feet to the fire on marijuana policy, regardless of party. (Except for Pete Sessions. Please do not vote for Pete Sessions.) Not every Democrat is perfect on the issue and more Republicans are seeing the light on the issue. Regardless of the party that controls Congress next, with 2/3 of Americans supporting cannabis legalization, it is on us to force our public servants in Washington, D.C., to respect the will of the voters and finally end the failed and harmful policy of cannabis prohibition.
Learn the latest about cannabis industry and policies at the next International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco on February 7-8, 2019. Purchase your early-bird tickets by January 18th to save!