There’s a new plan to get marijuana legalized in 2021, but will it work?
The democratically led Senate is actively trying to ensure that cannabis is decriminalized now that they are in charge. These leaders have made proposals to ensure that cannabis is definitively banned from the banned drug.
Bills are also being drafted to legalize marijuana at the federal level.
Indeed, not all Senate leaders and attorneys agree with this vision. Even President Joe Biden appears to be against the issue. Fortunately, the senators are looking beyond that to focus more on getting enough votes in the chamber to keep the bill from stalling.
“The war on drugs was a war against people – especially people with color”
The bill is supported by Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Chairman, Senator Cory Booker, New Jersey, and Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon. The above sentence was included in a statement made by these three men to emphasize how partial the law is.
Weed possession is the main allegation against most of the black population in US prisons. This is one of the reasons the prisons are congested. Strangely, there are white people who have committed the same offense but have not been imprisoned.
Sen Schumer takes this bill very seriously and advocates that the federal organization of cannabis occurs sooner rather than later. It is also trying to address the ongoing harm caused by banning the drug.
Government Relations Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, Chris Lindsey, said in an interview that the panel he is a member of has no doubt that Sen Schumer is considering any option that can help him implement his reform proposal.
Earning 60 votes can be a challenge for proponents of this law. Without these votes, the bill will be delayed on the floor as it is a standalone bill. Some proponents are trying to see if the budgetary vote system can be adopted for this proposal.
That way, politics will change smoothly with a majority of only 51 senators.
Sen Schumer said in a press conference that only the legislature can decide whether the proposed reforms will be included in reconciliation measures or not.
Another loud voice in the process is that of Maritza Perez, director of the National Affairs Office of the Alliance for Drug Policy. Mr Perez said in an interview that the only way a marijuana judicial bill can be approved in the Senate is through a must-pass bill.
While the voting is easy to do, it will only complicate the process down the line.
Budget reconciliation process
The American legislative process is not easy, but this route could be the last resort for cannabis advocates to bypass cannabis legalization. It would secure the votes of the Republican supporters in the Chamber.
This is where Byrd’s rule comes in. This rule is used to define the usefulness of a proposal for the budget process. It determines how relevant a proposed invoice is to the budget process. Not to forget that the budget reconciliation process has a limit to the actions that can be incorporated into it.
Without excluding the fact that the legislature that opposes the law would shortly also be drawing up rules of procedure.
It can take a few weeks to determine whether the cannabis reforms meet the criteria used to make the decision.
The final decision is left to the Senate Parliament in consultation with the chairman of the chamber.
If these MPs consider that the language of the Cannabis Act is irrelevant and in violation of Byrd’s Rule, the law will be excluded from the reconciliation process.
It turns out that running both chambers is not an easy way to legalize cannabis for Democrats.
This legalization law has many challenges to face. If it is included in the reconciliation bill, any member of the Senate Chamber can make changes to the bill. All of these changes are discussed in the Vote-a-Rama process and discussed on the floor.
This can take months. It’s also easier said than done; Noting that some Democrats are also against the proposed federal cannabis reforms.
Senators reject the bill
Some of the senators who don’t support cannabis reforms include Senator Jeanne Shaheed, Sens Jon Tester, Bob Caset, Joe Manchin, and Mark Kelly.
Sen Shaheen recently spoke in an interview with Politico about her reason for not supporting the reforms.
In her words, “We are in the middle of an opioid epidemic, and the research I’ve seen suggests the reforms are an opportunity for more people to use drugs.”
Sen Tester said he think organizations create more complications than they solve.
Back in March, Business Insider reached out to Sens Debbie Stabenow and Ben Cardin for comments on the proposed cannabis reforms. Both said they had not looked into the issue in depth and therefore refused to comment on the direction of their votes.
Sen Schumer has lined up his work for him. He’s got to make sure he got all Democratic lawmakers on board this bill because if someone backs out he’d have to get a Republican senator to replace and get his required votes.
Every step must be taken to prevent this invoice from being included in the budget reconciliation process – which would be too chaotic. Even so, it would be difficult to get 60 votes to cross the filibuster threshold.
If the Senator is able to garner up to 50 votes, Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to determine the tie. Given the Vice President’s stance on cannabis reform in the past, this may not be so bad after all.
However, if all else fails, the budget process may be the workable method to approve that invoice.
Other cases will continue to disintegrate later this year, hopefully by April 20th next year. Pot would be a legal drug that any American could buy in certain quantities.
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