Congressional Progressive Caucus Says Dems Can Legalize MJ By Winning House, Senate Majorities This November

A newly shared agenda from the Congressional Progressive Caucus suggests that a House and Senate majority is enough for Democratic leaders to legalize cannabis, among other progressive aims.

Keegan Williams

It’s a given that Election Season comes with a slew of messages from all sides, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is throwing its hat in the ring with a new legislative agenda, “a vision for Congress to meet everyday Americans’ urgent needs and rebuild the American dream for the poor, working, and middle class,” according to a recent news release from the group.

Specifically, the agenda includes a number of priorities like cannabis legalization and expungements that the caucus argues Democrats “can pass with congressional majorities” should they keep the Senate and take control of the House this November, as first reported by Marijuana Moment.

A Renewed Push for the Progressive Agenda

The agenda comes as progressive voters have increasingly expressed doubt in the two-party system ahead of the November elections, specifically the ability for the Democratic Party to align with and enact certain aims of progressive voters.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the CPC, assured progressives that they have been part of the “most significant Democratic legislative accomplishments in the country” while recognizing that there is still ample work to be done.

“That’s why the Progressive Caucus has identified these popular, populist, and possible solutions,” Jayapal said. “With the Progressive Proposition Agenda, Democrats in Congress can meet the urgent needs people are facing, rewrite the rules to ensure majorities of this country are no longer barred from the American promise of equality, justice, and economic opportunity, and motivate people with a vision of progressive governance under Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and a Democratic White House.”

The document presents a comprehensive legislative agenda surrounding policies meant to uplift poor and working class people. In addition to cannabis-related issues, the agenda looks at raising wages and lowering costs; correcting inequality in the economic, educational and political systems; continuing to push for progressive climate crisis policy and protecting and expanding the rights and freedoms of Americans.

Official Progressive, GOP Stances on Cannabis Reform in 2024

The document breaks down policies into a number of focus areas, including legislative policy proposals that Democrats could pass with congressional majorities that the CPC says “will deliver immediate, tangible results for everyday Americans as well as rebuild systems that have held communities back for too long.”

Under the “Advance Justice” section, the CPC lists a number of focus areas such as strengthening reproductive rights and LGBTQI equality, comprehensive policing reform, obtaining citizenship and fair systems for immigrants, ensuring respect for tribal obligations, abolishing the death penalty and addressing the legacy of slavery.

It also lists marijuana legalization, with the aim, “Legalize cannabis, expunge records, and provide restorative justice for people with marijuana-related convictions.” Specifically, the CPC cites reducing criminalization and incarcerations “through sentencing reform, legalizing cannabis, expunging records, providing restorative justice, and an accelerated and reformed clemency process for people with marijuana-related convictions.”

A separate Executive Action Agenda from the CPC last year urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to expedite the review of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, publicly document the progress and timeline for rescheduling/de-scheduling and expedite DOJ guidance to reinstate protection against federal prosecution and interference among state- and tribal-legal cannabis programs.

In contrast, the Republican Policy Committee recently shared its agenda in a memo claiming an anti-cannabis reform position, calling cannabis a “gateway drug” causing “violence, depression and suicide.”

“Marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug with no mechanism to control rouge producers from increasing potency and causing more harm,” the new GOP policy guide reads. “Rather than labeling marijuana as a recreational drug, it should be labeled for what it is—a gateway drug that increases schizophrenia and impairs cognitive ability.”

It also included two policy recommendations urging members to oppose the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking and the Cannabis Users’ Restoration of Eligibility (CURE) Act, despite both measures boasting bipartisan support.

Keegan Williams

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