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How Democrats Controlling the House of Representatives Will Help Marijuana Legalization

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Many marijuana advocates were thrilled when Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, since Republicans have been largely opposed to legalization efforts. But what will a Democratically controlled House mean for cannabis?

Rolling Stone broke down a number of ways that Democrats will advance marijuana legislation once they control the House. And while full legalization is probably not in the cards over the next two years, there are other ways Dems can advance the cause.

The biggest way will be simply allowing cannabis legislation to receive votes. Republicans prevented any type of marijuana amendments or bills to receive votes from the entire House, leaving them to die in congressional committees. Pro-marijuana Democrats will be able to add cannabis-related amendments onto bills that they know will receive support. For instance, bills surrounding veterans will probably receive amendments allowing them to use medical marijuana. 

There’s also the possibility that Democratic senators will begin using the House as a means to get their bills attention. Both Senators Cory Booker and Chuck Schumer have introduced bills to deschedule marijuana, but they’ve been ignored by the Republican Senate. But if they can get their Democratic counterparts in the House to pass the bills, that would put pressure on Republicans in the Senate to act.

The biggest goal will be to pass a bill that would protect states that legalize marijuana. Some Senate Republicans, and even President Donald Trump himself, have expressed interest in passing a bill that would protect states that institute legalized marijuana laws. If a Democratic House were to pass that bill, it would be hard for Republican leadership in the Senate to reject it considering members of their own party support it.

So we may not see full legalization over the next two years, but we could see some meaningful advancements at the federal level.

(h/​t Rolling Stone)

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