House Passes Major Federal Legalization Bill
The House of Representatives passed the Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton-Lee amendment to the annual federal appropriations bills which prevents the Dept. of Justice from spending any money to enforce federal marijuana prohibition laws in states that have legal medical AND adult-use.
With almost one in every four Americans now living in states that allow for the adult-use of marijuana, the importance of this legislation cannot be underestimated as it will stop almost all federal enforcement action against legal licensed cannabis businesses.
Since 2014, Congress has passed annual spending bills that have included language protecting those who engage in the state licensed use, production, and dispensing of MEDICAL cannabis from most prosecutions by the Department of Justice. The Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton-Lee amendment expands these protections to also include activities specific to the production and sale of cannabis to adults in the eleven states that have LEGALIZED the plant for anyone age 21 or older.
Passing with a very respectable 254 to 163, cannabis has been touted as a bipartisan issue. Maybe, but if it really is a bipartisan it has to be one of the most lopsided bipartisan issues passed in 2020 with 97% of the Democratic caucus (222 of 228) voting yes and only16% of the Republican caucus (31 of 188) voting yes.
An almost identical amendment was passed by the House last year, but failed to be included in the Senate’s appropriation bill. With Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) still in control of the Senate, the same fate probably awaits it. But who knows? Senators like Cory Garnder (R-CO), who is in a tight re-election campaign and is probably a bigger booster of legalized cannabis then his Democratic opponent, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, would definitely get a boost if the Senate passed it. With the Republicans in danger of losing the Senate, maybe they will pass it to help him get re-elected but I would advise against holding your breath.
There was also a major success at the California Democratic Party's Executive Board meeting last weekend where a resolution was passed in favor of allowing cannabis lounges to operate independently with a licensing system similar to obtaining one to sell beer and wine at restaurants and taverns. For those who understand the licensing for alcohol, a licensing system similar to beer and wine for cannabis lounges would be a tremendous step in the right direction in making cannabis far more available then it currently is under the byzantine system currently in operation.
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