One of the most pressing current issues for cannabis advocates across the country is how U.S. senators, including GOP party members, plan to vote on multiple pieces of federal legislation to end the prohibition of cannabis. Ten or more GOP senators, as well as every Democrat vote, would be needed to pass.
Shortly after the advancement of the MORE (Marijuana Reinvestment and Expungement) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, a journalist from CNS News confronted several senators at the Capitol on April 5 and asked them if they themselves consume cannabis. The senators disagreed on whether or not cannabis should be legalized and left up to states to decide—almost entirely on party lines.
CNS News asked Senator Ted Cruz, “The House voted last week to legalize cannabis. Do you use cannabis, and if not, why not?”
“I don’t because it’s illegal and because it’s harmful to you, Senator Cruz replied. “It’s not healthy.” Senator Cruz has flip-flopped back and forth on the topic of cannabis over the past several years.
Forbes Senior Contributor Kris Kane listed Senator Cruz as one of “The 5 Worst U.S. Senators on Marijuana Policy.” One can only wonder why he was included on the list, despite occasionally being on the side of cannabis when it suits him.
Senator Cruz’s statement was followed up by other GOP senators, including Senators James Lankford and Rick Scott. When also asked if he consumes cannabis, Senator Lankford said, “Do I use it? No, I absolutely do not.”
Lankford added that consumers need to follow the science. “I understand the House is going to try and skip the science and say we’re not going to look into that because people use it; we’re just going to allow it,” said Lankford. “But increasing the use of cannabis doesn’t make our streets safer, doesn’t make our workplaces safer; it doesn’t make our families stronger.”
Senator Rick Scott said, “Okay, I don’t support that. I’ve had family members who have had a lot of drug issues, and so I’m not going to do it.”
One Democrat was also interviewed. Senator Elizabeth Warren was also asked if she smokes cannabis by a CNS News correspondent, and alluded that you don’t have to consume it to understand that cannabis should be legalized. “I don’t use it, but I believe it should be lawful,” she said. “We need to regularize our banking laws and our tax laws around a business that will bring in billions of dollars for users and take a lot of risk out of a system right now that is legal in some places, but illegal at the federal level, and it makes no sense.”
April 1, the U.S. House of Representatives voted and passed the MORE Act, or H.R. 3617, in a floor vote. It’s the second time the U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill as the historic piece of legislation makes its way to the Senate.
The MORE Act was approved on a mostly party-line 220-204 vote. A previous version of the bill was approved in December 2020—also on a mostly party-line vote—and was the first comprehensive cannabis policy reform legislation to receive a floor vote or be approved by either chamber of Congress.
“Specifically, it removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana,” the bill summary reads.
The MORE Act faces what some call an uphill battle, as it would need GOP support to approve the bill and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk.