Anything in the way of federal legalization in 2021

Cannabis advocates are still waiting for the bill the Democratic Senate promised to legalize marijuana at the federal level. You are excited about the possibilities. After all, the Democrats are in control of Congress this year, so getting marijuana matters through should be a breeze. But that’s not entirely true.

There are still immense challenges in getting cannabis reform through the halls of Congress this year, and some of the barriers to legalization start with the Democratic Party itself.

Photo by Darren415 / Getty Images

Although Democrats have a majority in the US Senate, this is only the case with a narrow majority. This means they will need all of their own support, not to mention Republican support, to take action on the pot beyond discussion. A marijuana bill would take 60 senators to sign to defeat the filibuster, an old Senate rule that requires a super majority on controversial issues.

But Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer won’t even be able to count on the entire Democratic Party to support the passage of marijuana legislation in 2021. Not all of them are in favor of such measures. Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire recently told Politico that “I do not support the legalization of marijuana.” Senator Jon Tester from Montana agreed. Legalizing marijuana would “create more problems than it solve,” he said. These are two voices that Schumer cannot afford to lose.

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Nevertheless, Schumer is considering how the cannabis problem can be recognized in this congress. He firmly believes that something is happening while he is saying his last 420 speech The Senate said, “Hopefully the next time this unofficial holiday 420 rolls around, our country will have made progress in addressing the massive problems Over-criminalizing marijuana in a meaningful and comprehensive way. “The word on the street is that he is even willing to make some concessions with his approach (allowing a less comprehensive measure if he thinks it will be successful) to ensure that there is some degree of pot reform in the Books lands. Despite compromises, there are no guarantees.

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It doesn’t even look like a paltry cannabis banking bill known as the SAFE Banking Act deserves enough support to fly through the Senate. The bill was recently passed by the US House of Representatives and is now at the entrance to the upper chamber, waiting for its time to shine. But Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, chairman of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, stands in the way, and he’s not giving SAFE Banking a fair shock. “This committee has been too preoccupied with Wall Street and not enough housing, not enough rural and urban affairs and people’s economic lives, and that is my focus,” said Brown told “I’m going to take a look at this seriously. We are not ready to go on. “

RELATED: Why 2021 Should Prove the Year of Federal Cannabis Legalization

The only way for Senate Democrats to bypass the Republican opposition and move their agenda forward this year is through the budget vote. This process is filibuster-safe as it only requires a simple majority on financial matters. Cannabis advocates asked Schumer if he would consider using the budget vote to pass his sweeping cannabis reform bill. And it sounds like he’s trying. “You will hear the legislation in a few weeks that will answer,” said Schumer. try it is the operative word.

Will Chuck Schumer's latest plan to break the GOP heads help cannabis reform?Photo by Jonathan Ernst / Pool / Getty Images

While it is perfectly fair for Senate Democrats to try to find their way into federal cannabis legalization using the budget process, it is unlikely to be approved. As we mentioned Weeks ago it would be up to the Senate MP to decide whether marijuana legalization could be done this way. Given that the MP is responsible for undoing attempts by the Senate to pass the $ 15 minimum wage earlier this year, legalizing marijuana is unlikely to stand a chance. Still, the Democrats will slide the envelope to see what sticks.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Chairman Mitch McConnell has promised that any action Democrats take through budget-balanced Congress will be lifted as soon as the power structure changes. That could be as early as 2022. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks. One thing is for sure, Democrats must be cautious if they want to see cannabis reform land in a way that avoids falling victim to savage political dusting.

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