Republicans want weed, but does the GOP care?
In recent years, GOP elected members have been lukewarm about legal cannabis. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was an early leader on Republican policies, including blocking weed, but he appears to be losing influence slightly. The House passed SAFE Banking and was very open to fewer restrictions on the cannabis industry that would provide more opportunity and tax revenue, but McConnell blocked the bill. The Senate took up SAFER Banking earlier this year, but chaos in the House delayed any action. Unfortunately for the GOP, the latest Gallop poll shows Republicans want weed, but does the GOP care?
Current House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has a very clear vision for the future and believes that if he works hard enough, he will be able to introduce legislation and restrictions on it now. It turns out that 55% of Republicans support legal weed, but does their party’s majority orientation matter to those elected?
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The two most recent elections show that Republicans do not appear to be aligned with enough of their base, causing them to fail electorally. Speaker Johnson does not smoke, swear, drink or use banks. But the good news is that he has shown some willingness to work with Democrats on the budget.
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If Johnson is open to budget deals, passage of SAFER Banking in the Senate will benefit the state through tax revenue and the economy. SAFER Banking will help the cannabis industry continue to grow and bring more jobs and money to the economy. Despite the continued increase in new customers, difficult federal and state legal issues continue to place a strain on the legal marijuana industry and directly impact its bottom line.
The Biden administration has begun changing the classification of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. Over the summer, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended moving marijuana to Schedule III after a scientific review. The Drug Enforcement Administration is now tasked with making the final decision, which is expected to come in the first half of next year.
More good news is that a significant portion of the alcohol and tobacco industries now operate in the cannabis world, and legalization will only benefit that industry’s bottom line.
RELATED: People who consume weed are also more fun
If the GOP wants to win elections, it needs to start listening to voters. And legal and medical marijuana is probably the safest first step.