Some members of the United States Congress are sensing that the Trump administration could present a “big” obstacle to cannabis legalization. And they’re taking action to make sure it doesn’t. On February 16, pro-cannabis lawmakers took the first step to prepare for battle against the Trump administration.
Representatives from California, Oregon, Arkansas, and Colorado launched the first ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus. At a press conference in D.C., Dana Rohrabacher, Earl Blumenauer, Don Young, and Jared Polis laid out two primary goals for the caucus. First, they want to advocate for sensible cannabis policy reform on Capitol Hill. Second, they want to bridge the gap between legal weed states and the federal government.
What Exactly Is A Congressional Caucus?
Time for a quick civics lesson. To begin, there are dozens of caucuses in Congress. Essentially, a caucus is a group of members of Congress. They meet publicly to pursue a standard set of lawmaking goals. Often, caucuses help lawmakers reach across party lines and accomplish bipartisan goals in the nation’s interest. These groups have to be officially recognized by the House of Representatives. They also have to follow certain rules.
And that’s exactly what the Congressional Cannabis Caucus did. They’re a bipartisan group including Republicans and Democrats, and they’re stepping up to defend cannabis legalization in the United States.
“We’re stepping forward together to say we’ve got to make major changes in our country’s attitude toward cannabis. And if we do, many people are going to live better lives, it’s going to be better for our country, better for people, and it makes economic sense at a time when every penny must count for government.”
An Uncertain Future For The Trump Administration
Members of the caucus affirm their commitment to supporting the growing majority of Americans who support legalizing marijuana in some form. Furthermore, many of the people who are against legalization still support decriminalizing cannabis.
Indeed, the November elections proved just how eager most Americans are for a big change in pot policy. Now, eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.
But the rise of the Trump administration signals an uncertain future for cannabis in the United States. The problem is not so much that The Donald himself is opposed to legal weed. In fact, he’s stated his support for medical cannabis specifically.
On the campaign trail, Trump largely held to the position that states had the right to develop and pass their own laws on cannabis. But the federal prohibition on pot remains an issue for the legal marijuana industry. And the radical conservatives he’s surrounded himself with have a record of upholding that prohibition.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions Is Radically Anti-Pot
Alabama Senator turned Attorney General doesn’t have a good record at all when it comes to cannabis. Jeff Sessions was a staunch opponent of the Civil Rights Act. The Senate blocked him from a federal judgeship for his racism in 1986. Recently, Sessions sparked outrage when he said he thought the KKK was OK until he found out they smoked pot.” Sessions tried to pass off the comment as a joke.
It’s safe to say that Sessions isn’t planning to advance the cause of cannabis during his tenure as Attorney General. However, when asked by the press if he’d enforce federal law on states that have legalized cannabis, Sessions appeared to indicate he would follow Trump’s lead on the issue.
Whichever direction the Trump administration decides to go on cannabis reform, it’s safe to say that the Congressional Cannabis Caucus has their work cut out for them. Sign the petition to tell the Trump administration to back off marijuana.