January 18, 2019 5:20 am

Cannabis in Congress: Why Federally Legal Weed Could Soon Be a Reality

Pro-marijuana bills introduced to congress used to be largely symbolic — now they have a chance to actually reach the floor of the House and come to a vote

Even with the government shutdown that’s been ominously hovering over Washington these past three weeks, there’s still a fresh Congress in town. That means the nation’s 535 lawmakers are in the first stages of trying to get their favored pet issues on the radar of party leaders. That focused energy and flowery optimism that marks the start of any new Congress is different this year for marijuana proponents, because this time around they believe they can actually pass some sweeping cannabis reforms.

At this time two years ago, while then-Speaker Paul Ryan was adamantly keeping any marijuana amendment from ever getting to the House floor, the rollout of most any marijuana bill was basically all symbolism.

Today’s a new day in the swamp, and supportive lawmakers are coming out of the gates swinging, signaling to marijuana supporters across the nation that this time around what was formerly just viewed as rhetoric now has a strong chance of becoming reality.

That’s why the founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), is excited — giddy, even — in this new year. He dropped the third purely marijuana-focused bill in the 116th Congress. Named the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, it would explicitly do what its title states.

 

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