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Cannabis reform in the U.S. one step closer after Democratic House flip

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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The ball is well and truly rolling for cannabis reform in the United States. Democrats have successfully regained authority over the U.S. House of Representatives.

A momentous move like this could potentially act as a catalyst for federal cannabis legalization that would put Uncle Sam in the same league as Canada. America’s northern neighbor kick-started legal recreational weed sales on October 17 of this year.

Numerous cannabis industry experts are elated about the news, stating that Democratic control of the House will likely stimulate the rate at which pro-pot legalization ensues. Passage of the States Act is one of the primary goals. If passed, the measure would permit U.S. states to execute cannabis legalization in their own preferred ways.

However, Republicans are expected to maintain control of the Senate; something that Ohio State University law professor Douglas Berman believes will delay the process of cannabis reform in the U.S.

“It’s the people in leadership who have the power … and whether they want this to get done sooner or later,” Berman said during a recent interview with MJ Biz Daily.

President Donald Trump is a supporter of cannabis reform in the U.S.

America’s president is not opposed to cannabis legalization in the U.S. Earlier in the year, President Donald Trump publicized his support for the States Act.

Notwithstanding, Republican Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has not joined the ever-growing army of pro-pot politicians. McConnell might support legalization of the hemp plant, but he has not expressed support for cannabis.

Hemp contains minimal traces of the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but is abundant in the non-psychotropic medicinal compound cannabidiol (CBD). The cannabis plant contains both types of cannabinoids, with the strain’s genetics influencing its cannabinoid content.

Pro-cannabis ballot initiatives just passed in three U.S. states won by Trump in 2016

Despite the fact that Democrats just regained control of the House of Representatives, the road ahead is not without its speed bumps. While things are definitely on the up, cannabis proponents are not ignorant to the fact that challenges still stand in the way for nationwide cannabis legalization, not just inside Congress but also, outside of congressional boundaries.

On Wednesday, Republicans bagged seats in the Senate. This was bad news for anyone who supports cannabis reform in the U.S., since it meant that anti-pot politician Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gained fuel to fire up his prohibitionist efforts.

Meanwhile, pro-cannabis ballot initiatives passed in three U.S. states won by President Trump in the 2016 elections: Utah, Missouri, and Michigan.

Furthermore, Trump has made it clear that he thinks states should be allowed to enact their own cannabis policies. With the president’s continued support, McConnell and his band of anti-pot Republicans could ultimately fall flat on their faces. On that note, with pro-pot Democrats gaining authority of the House, proponents of cannabis reform in the U.S. are now in a pretty desirable position for negotiating.

“We ended up with a much stronger pro-cannabis Congress, and we just added three more states to the list where voters have approved it,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) during an interview with Rolling Stone. “We continue to get more public support in the polls, so I think we’re in great shape,” Blumenauer added.

Blumenauer is one of Congress’s most vocal cannabis proponents

During the middle of October, Blumenauer testified at a Congressional hearing to promote cannabis’ potential for fighting the opioid epidemic that has long plagued America. The pro-pot Congressman has never been shy about his support for cannabis reform in the U.S. Back in 1973, he fronted Oregon’s Legislature to decriminalize cannabis possession. His efforts were rewarded, when Oregon became the nation’s first-ever state to decriminalize the plant.

“All we need is to not have what happened with Republicans, where the Republican leadership stopped the process,” Blumenauer affirms. “If they would have just stood out of the way we could have moved this stuff forward, and we’ll now be able to do that. We will have a majority of people in the House who will overwhelmingly support this, and the leadership’s not going to stand in the way.”

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Cannabis reform in the U.S. one step closer after Democratic House flip