Marijuana is bipartisan, but that doesn’t mean federal legalization is a safe bet

There was a time when the only lawmakers who backed the concept of legal marijuana were those long-haired candidates who ran for independents and had no chance of winning anyway. But the times have changed. Now Democrats and Republicans alike support the legalization of marijuana and continue to fight for it on Capitol Hill.

There’s a lot of support for cannabis reform in the House of Representatives – the Chamber has just passed a cannabis banking bill known as the SAFE Banking Act – and there’s a lot of support from the democratically controlled Senate. Even President Biden is said to have endorsed these ideas to some extent.

Why are weeds not nationally legal?

Photo by dvulikaia / Getty Images

For starters, cannabis may be a non-partisan issue at this point, but there is still not enough collective support to make it happen. Furthermore, everyone still seems to have different ideas about what legal weeds should look like. Senate Democrats want to end the federal marijuana ban, but they want to do it in a way that prevents Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco from exercising their capitalist rights.

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Joe Biden is only interested in legalizing medicinal uses and getting rid of criminal penalties, but he’s not particularly interested in the idea of ​​taxing and regulating the herb. Other lawmakers would be satisfied if they could pass the paltry SAFE banking law or renew temporary drivers on a budget bill that has very little legal weight in the big picture.

In the meantime, many naysayers don’t want marijuana legalization, no matter how it’s designed. How we mentioned Earlier this week, that includes the Democratic Party opposition itself. Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire says, “I don’t support legalizing marijuana.” Meanwhile, Montana Senator Jon Tester claims that legal weeds “cause more problems than they solve”. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown says the Senate will not consider the SAFE Banking Act. Rest assured, there is more democratic opposition hiding in the shadows.

Marijuana may be a bipartisan issue, but it’s far from unanimous.

While lawmakers are still not entirely sure which side to be on when it comes to weeds, marijuana legalization in the elections continues to do well. This is why so many states have legalized for medical and recreational purposes – not because of the legislature, but because of the people. Right now, 69% of the population thinks the marijuana ban should end.

States most likely to legalize cannabis in 2021Photo by Darren415 / Getty Images

Thirteen of the 18 states where marijuana is now legal for adults 21 and older happened only because there was an election initiative for voters to express their views. Not every state is free to legalize this way, so lawmakers in places like Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas have to stick to the rules on this issue so they can go further. But there is no chance that it will happen this year.

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Some of the newest national surveys note that around 72% of Democrats support marijuana legalization, while 47% of Republicans do. The numbers are encouraging, but again, nowhere near enough to make cannabis a safe bet in convention halls. However, this does not prevent Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer from doing everything possible to pass a “comprehensive” cannabis reform bill this year. He knows he’ll have to deal with the filibuster if he tries to pass it on the old-fashioned way, which means he may be trying to get it approved for budget reconciliation. If he does, it would only take a simple majority to pass.

But Schumer is likely to count the votes before submitting his proposal, and they just aren’t there. It takes 60 votes to beat the filibuster – that is, he needs every Democrat and a few Republicans. We hate to bring bad news, but it’s unlikely there will be any national marijuana legalization this year. It’s a shame the US had the best chance of doing this since 2021, as the Democrats finally got a majority.

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There are just too many roadblocks, and all of the bilateral support comes from the usual suspects. Marijuana needs new blood on the hill. It seems more important for the cannabis movement to move forward from state to state. This is the only way to get a more direct message to Congress that Americans are ready to legalize weeds, just like alcohol and tobacco.

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