Marijuana-related legislation has received more support in Congress this year than ever before.
According to a report from MassRoots, there are now more federal lawmakers supporting marijuana bills, especially those seeking to remedy the banking conundrum for the cannabis industry, than in previous sessions.
One of the proposals, a pot-banking bill introduced earlier this year by Congressman Ed Perlmutter, has managed to secure 47 co-sponsors in 2017 – that is nearly 10 more backers than when Congress ended the session last year.
The second proposal, which was re-submitted in May by Senator Jeff Merkley, has already attracted more co-sponsors in the past few weeks than it did when it was first introduced back in 2014.
Marijuana bills dealing with federal tax laws are also getting more attention. The report shows that several of these measures have more co-sponsors in 2017 than in times past.
Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, says the increase in political support is largely due to lobbyists for the marijuana trade. He says these policy pushers have been in Washington, D.C. for the past several years, working to educate lawmakers over the importance of making changes to these issues.
“The more Congress gets to know the real, responsible entrepreneurs of the cannabis industry, the more support there is for them to be treated fairly and for state laws to be respected,” West said. “Our members embrace their roles as both businesspeople and advocates, and we’ve seen a real spike in energy and excitement around that advocacy work this year. It’s great to see it paying off.”
Sadly, while marijuana banking and tax laws are becoming hot items on Capitol Hill, not much has changed with respect to support for legislation aimed at ending marijuana prohibition. The “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” reintroduced this year by Congressman Jared Polis, currently has only 11 co-sponsors, while the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act,” submitted months ago by Representative Thomas Garrett, has 12.
In years past, similar bills have garnered just over 20 co-sponsors. But none of them were given any consideration.