When Will Democrats Get Serious About Repealing Pot Prohibition?

If you vote against the legalization bill because of opposition to federal marijuana prohibition, it is likely that something is wrong. This is exactly what happened last Wednesday, when Congress approved the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (220 votes to 204).

There were 217 Democrats who voted yes, but there were only three Republicans. This is two more than the number of Republicans that voted in favor of the MORE Act at the House’s 2020 passage. The meager and waning GOP support for the bill suggests that Democrats want credit for trying to legalize marijuana but are not really interested in building the bipartisan coalition that would be necessary to accomplish that goal.

It was the first time either chamber had passed legislation to eliminate marijuana from federally prohibited drug lists. But as expected, the MORE Act went nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Now, the Senate is evenly split between both parties. Democratic control will depend on Vice President Kamala Hariri’s tiebreaking vote. To overcome a filibuster, even though Democrats unanimously voted for legalization legislation, 10 Republicans would be required to support them.

Democrats appear determined to overlook this political fact. Both the MORE Act and the legalization bill that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) The MORE Act and Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader (D-N.Y.), are expected to be introduced this spring. These provisions will cause unneeded contentiousness among Republicans that could otherwise make it difficult for them to work together to end the conflict between federal prohibitions and laws in 37 states that allow recreational or medical use of cannabis.

The latest Gallup poll found that 68 percent believe marijuana should be legalized, including 83 per cent of Democrats and 50 per cent of Republicans. Republicans should not be opposed to legislation that allows states to set their own policies on marijuana without the federal government interfering.

It is possible to create such legislation. The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017, sponsored by then-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R–Calif.It contained one sentence which said that federal marijuana prohibitions would not apply for state-authorized conduct. Its 46 cosponsors included 14 Republicans—11 more than voted for the MORE Act last week.

The Common Sense Cannabis Reform Act, which Rep. Dave Joyce (R–Ohio) introduced last May, is 14 pages long. It has eight cosponsors so far, four of them Republicans. However, this still indicates that it has more GOP support to the 92-page MORE Act than Democrats were able to get for it. This Act includes new taxes and regulations as well as spending programs.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) He believes Congress should not have prohibited marijuana because there was no legal authority. He still voted against The MORE Act. objectingTo the “new cannabis crimes” it would tax and regulate, each violation could lead to up to five-year imprisonment and a $10,000 penalty.

Schumer’s 163-page draft of Schumer’s bill is double the size of the MORE Act’s prescriptive, burdensome approach. It would levy a 25 percent federal excise tax on top of frequently hefty state and local taxes, impose picayune federal regulations, and create the sort of “social equity” programs that gave pause even to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R–Fla.The MORE Act’s only Republican sponsor.

The GOP’s support of marijuana federalism can be seen in the vote by 106 Republicans last April for Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), which would shield financial institutions serving state-licensed cannabis businesses from federal prosecution and forfeiture as well as regulatory penalties. If Schumer had not blocked it, the SAFE Banking Act would have been law.

Schumer effectively tells GOP senators they don’t matter their views, instead of promoting the Republican desire to let states decide how this is dealt with. It only makes sense if he’s more concerned with political points that reversing a constitutionally and scientifically bankrupt, morally unsound policy that was abandoned decades ago.

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