Congressmen From Four Weed-Legal States Form Cannabis Caucus
It's only February, and already 2017 has been a big year for weed.
The future of the country’s legal cannabis industry under the current administration has been difficult to forecast in President Donald Trump’s first month in office.
On Thursday, though, a group of bipartisan congressman came together to announce they would be forming a caucus to explore cannabis law reform, and how the federal government can work in conjunction with states that have either already passed recreational and medical marijuana laws, and those yet to go (legally) green. Reps Dana Rohrabacher, (R-CA), Earl Blumenaur (D-OR), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) announced the cannabis caucus in a live-streamed press conference from Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.
“We’re really at the tipping point on marijuana reform,” Colorado’s Polis told the Denver Post. “For the first time, it’s a majority of Americans that will have access to medical or recreational marijuana.”
Currently, more states have enacted marijuana legislation than haven’t. And despite any initial uncertainty coming from Trump’s recently confirmed attorney general Jeff Beauregard Sessions III, the President stated during his run for office that he indeed supports medical marijuana legislation as a decision to be left up to the states.
And the weed world was, for lack of a better term, pretty stoked on the caucus’ forming.
A statement from representatives of the legal marijuana industry––which included, among others, ambassadors from the Marijuana Policy Project, the National Organization For Reforming Marijuana Law (NORML) and the Drug Policy Alliance––reads:
“We commend Representatives Blumenauer, Rohrabacher, Polis, and Young for their leadership on the issue of cannabis policy. The establishment of a Cannabis Caucus will allow members from both parties, who represent diverse constituencies from around the country, to join together for the purpose of advancing sensible cannabis policy reform."
The members of the caucus each come from states with legal, functional recreational and medical marijuana programs. These states are joined by three more––Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts––after voters in November said yes to legal recreational marijuana laws in each of the aforementioned.
And legal weed is a big deal for the American economy. California’s Rohrabacher said at the conference that, bringing marijuana out of prohibition, “makes economic sense at a time when every penny must count for government."
The forming of the caucus follows a proposed bill from Rohrabacher, which has a similar goal of federal marijuana laws and state cannabis legislation coalescing via an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
According to a report from Colorado-based cannabis industry insights and data aggregate, BDS Analytics, in 2016 American consumers in green states spent more than $6 billion on legal devil lettuce. To be certain, 28 states and the District of Columbia now have some form of weed laws on the books.