The 2016 elections gave a huge boost to legal weed, while simultaneously scaring the hell out of everyone as the keys to the White House and Congress were handed over to a group of reactionary pot-haters.
We will not soon forget the day when White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested the Trump administration may crack down on states with legal recreational weed.
But what about the new House of Representatives bill that aims to protect states’ rights?
When HR 975, which enjoys bipartisan support by the way, was introduced in Congress by California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, many saw it as a hopeful sign.
The bill has an optimistic title and straightforward message: “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017.”
The hope is that the House bill will protect consumers and businesses in states that have passed legalization initiatives or amendments as well as “any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.”
This basically prevents the feds from busting consumers and businesses in legal medical and recreational states.
The bill, if passed, would also clear up the banking mess that has plagued the industry for years.
This attempt to come up with a reasonable solution to the issue of states’ rights has been viewed as a smart move, undertaken in tandem with the formation of the first-ever bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus, whose goal is to promote sensible cannabis policy reform and ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.
NORML referred to the Congressional Cannabis Caucus as a step toward reforming cannabis policy at the federal level: “Having a coalition of lawmakers in Washington, DC who will go on the record in support of advocating for cannabis freedom is something we haven’t had before, but it is an event that is long overdue.”
There are just too many people, including politicians, local advocates and millions of Americans who voted for the safe recreational and medical benefits that weed provides.
So it makes perfect sense for a group of federal lawmakers to step up and provide the extremist elements in the current government with an opportunity to back off. The question is: will they take it?
Some have already begun to mend their anti-marijuana ways and are seeing the light. And that light is green—as in dollars.
The weed industry raked in more than $6.5 billion in legal sales in the U.S. last year and, if allowed to grow at its own pace, is estimated to reach $25 billion by 2020.
As one of the fastest growing industries in the country and on track to provide more jobs than the manufacturing sector, a change of heart from even the most strident lawmakers will hopefully start to crack the GOP’s anti-weed wall.
Only last week Denver’s Mayor, Michael Hancock, admitted that his town has a lot to lose if the feds come busting the doors down and wreck their wildly successful weed industry, which he once opposed but now realizes that it has been a lifeline.
If Rohrabacher’s bill to Respect State Marijuana Laws falls flat and Attorney General Jeff Sessions indeed goes after legal marijuana, the weed industry will revert back to the shadows from whence it came.
And who wants to see all those jobs, tax revenue and money dry up?
Pot is not going anywhere, that much we know.
But who is going make it available is the question. The black market or legal shops? What say you President Trump?