Tag: cannabis legalization

Would Donald Trump Sign a Cannabis Legalization Bill Passed by Congress?

Donald Trump’s position on cannabis has been tough to pin down. During the 2016 campaign, he stated that he supported medical use and that he was a believer in states’ rights regarding legalization. However, the hiring of Reefer Madness prohibitionist Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, signing statements regarding his administration’s ultimate right to enforce federal cannabis laws regardless of state legalization laws, and comments by members of his staff, have caused confusion.

That confusion has only been exacerbated by a recent interview of Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who has a an anti-cannabis history, and the ensuring Twitter beef that sprung out of the interview with reporter Matt Laslo. Marijuana Moment reported:

President Donald Trump’s stance on marijuana legalization became the jumping off point for a spat between a top White House aide, Republican operatives and a reporter on Thursday after Chief of Staff Mark Meadows laughed off a question about the prospects of broad cannabis reform advancing before the election in November.

But the controversy wasn’t solely about the administration’s position on legalization; rather the dispute centered on how freelance reporter Matt Laslo characterized the conversation on Twitter, where he said that Meadows suggested pro-cannabis reform Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) “has been misleading voters on marijuana” and that “Trump has no plan to lift a finger on cannabis legalization or even normalization.”

Laslo also shared audio from the interview and wrote that it showed Meadows “mockingly laugh when I ask if Trump plans to carry through on his promise to [Gardner] to relax federal marijuana laws.”

Some Republicans pushed back on Laslo’s characterization of Meadows’ response and the implications that Colorado Senator Cory Gardner has been misleading his constituents. Gardner is seen as very vulnerable Republican who the Democrats hope to defeat this November. With legalization very popular in Colorado, the issue is an important issue for his re-election prospects.

Laslo responded to his Republican critics on Twitter:

As Politico reported, any type of cannabis legalization legislation would help Senator Gardner, but he hasn’t been able to move the needle in the Republican-controlled Senate:

But so far, the GOP’s most ardent promoter of cannabis in Congresshasn’t delivered any legislative wins for the state’s $1.7 billion, rapidly growing cannabis industry, where marijuana was legalized in 2012. The two major cannabis bills Gardner sponsors — one to increase access to banking and capital for the cannabis industry and one to codify federal protections for states that choose to legalize marijuana — have not advanced in the Senate at all, despite the banking bill passing the House with a bipartisan majority last fall. Gardner does not support any bill that would legalize cannabis nationwide.

“At some point, I have to go to Cory Gardner and say, ‘Why should the industry continue to support you?’” said Marijuana Policy Project’s Don Murphy, a former Republican lawmaker in Maryland. “I know you’re trying, but you’re not getting anything.”

With so many issues facing our nation, it seems unlikely that cannabis legalization legislation will be passed by Congress. With a lot of negative stories dominating the news cycle, it would certainly benefit Trump and Gardner to have a feel-good cannabis story make some headlines, but each day that passes, it seems more and more unlikely this term. We’ll see what the next four years will hold.

69% of Oregonians Believe that Cannabis Legalization Has Been Successful

Cannabis legalization laws certainly aren’t perfect. There are a lot of improvements that need to be made at local, state, and federal levels to better help patients in need and small businesses. However, there are a lot of successes to be proud of as well, especially around criminal justice penalties and the fact that cannabis retail sales, illegal everywhere just a decade ago, have now been deemed essential during a global pandemic crisis.

There are fewer arrests, jobs are being created and revenue has been generated for important social services, yet Reefer Madness prohibitionists want to turn back the clock and scream about how the sky has fallen in legal cannabis states. Thankfully, we have the facts on our side, and the voters. As Marijuana Moment reported, YouGov polled over 32,000 voters in legal states and a whopping 69% of Oregonians believe that legalization has been a success:

They were given five options: “Success only, more of a success than a failure, more of a failure than a success, failure only or don’t know.”

Here’s a breakdown of percentages of people in legal states who said the policy has been a success compared to a failure:

Colorado (71-17 percent)

Oregon (69-20 percent)

Massachusetts (67-15 percent)

Washington (65-18 percent)

Nevada (64-17 percent)

California (59-20 percent)

Illinois (59-17 percent)

Michigan (56-20 percent)

Maine (47-20 percent)

Too often, the cannabis community is still treated as second class citizens in many aspects of our lives, from child custody battles to employment rights. Entrepreneurs are still fighting for access to regular banking services (which could pass soon) and sensible taxation policies (further away, but needed ASAP). As we continue to mainstream cannabis legalization and advocate for equality, we should always note that the voters that know the best, those that live in legal cannabis states, understand that legalization is a much better policy than prohibition.

 

Mexico Advances a Cannabis Legalization Bill

While we have made great progress legalizing cannabis state by state, the U.S. federal government continues to painfully lag behind the people, even with a majority of Americans supporting legalization. As we’ve seen more and more U.S. politicians including presidential candidates move towards supporting sensible cannabis legislation, we should seen an end to federal prohibition within the next decade. One thing that might speed up the process will be other countries joining Canada in legalizing cannabis.

As Marijuana Moment reports, Mexico is moving closer to joining our neighbor to the north, as the Mexican Senate has just advanced a legalization bill: to the Senate floor via a 26-7 Senate vote:

The proposal as introduced would allow adults 18 and older to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. Individuals could grow up to 20 registered plants as long as the total yield doesn’t exceed 480 grams per year. Medical patients could apply to cultivate more than 20 plants, however.

Personal possession would be capped at 28 grams, but possession of up to 200 grams would be decriminalized.

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The bill proposes a 12 percent tax on cannabis sales, with some revenue going toward a substance misuse treatment fund.

Very exciting for tourists and locals alike, public consumption would be allowed, except in designated spaces deemed to be 100% smoke-free. It is bad enough that the United States has let Canada reap economic benefits that should be going towards American citizens. Are we gonna let Mexico beat us to the punch as well? On the bright side, the enlightenment of our friendly nextdoor neighbors should spur our politicians to act sooner rather than later.