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What is the future of the decriminalization bill Trump said he would support?


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Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

Thanks to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Trump said recently he would “probably support” a bill him and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced earlier this month that would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level so states could legalize without any problems with the federal government. The bill, called the STATES Act, got Trump’s vague support because Gardner was blocking Trump’s judicial appointments until he got the president’s support. However, it’s not seeming likely the bill has enough support in Congress to make it to Trump’s desk.

According to High Times, the bill is facing trouble in Congress. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has not taken a position on the bill at all, and “Republican chairs of key congressional committees have also not yet backed the STATES Act.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) supports the bill, but Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) refuses to allow any hearings to happen for it in the House Judiciary Committee. Essentially, there are Democratic and Republican supporters of this bill, but perhaps not enough.

“Like with any piece of Congressional legislation, the fate of the STATES Act largely lies with the whims of those who chair the committees to which it is assigned, in this case the House and Senate Judiciary Committees,” Paul Armentano, NORML’s Deputy Director, told Cannabis News Box. “Public and political pressure ought to be placed on the chairs of these committees, specifically Rep. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), to move this effort forward. If these committee chairs remain obstinate in their decision to withhold hearings or votes on the bill, then it will be very difficult for this effort to advance in Congress.”

That said, there’s an election coming in November, and Armentano said cannabis legalization could be a major factor in which candidates people vote for. If more pro-legalization candidates are elected, then this bill might have a better chance in Congress. Furthermore, Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) Marijuana Justice Act has support from some major players in Congress, and it goes much further than the STATES Act, in terms of legalization and fixing problems created by the War on Drugs. However, it doesn’t seem likely Trump would sign that bill at this moment.

Legalization appears to be stalled in Congress generally so far, but November could change everything. If cannabis advocates show up to the polls in large numbers, legalization could be coming much sooner than many expected.

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What is the future of the decriminalization bill Trump said he would support?