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How Losing Pro-Marijuana Republicans in Congress Could Affect Legalization

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Last Tuesday, Democrats retook control of the House of Representatives, a development that many marijuana advocates celebrated. But now some are wondering if losing pro-cannabis Republicans may actually hurt the cause.

Several pro-marijuana Republicans lost their bids for re-election last week during the midterm elections. This included Dana Rohrabacher, arguably the biggest champion for cannabis laws in Congress the past few years, Carlos Cubelo, who’s attempted to push laws to make banking and taxes easier for marijuana businesses, and Mike Coffman, who pushed to protect states that legalized marijuana like his home state Colorado. 

There are a few reasons this could hurt legalization. Without pro-marijuana voices from Republicans in Congress, Democrats will basically write all cannabis bills themselves, and will probably not include amendments or changes that would appeal to conservatives. So while Democrats in the House may like it, there’s no way Republicans in the Senate would approve them.

Another issue is that it may prevent other Republicans from adopting pro-cannabis views. They saw that supporting cannabis didn’t help attract moderate voters in last week’s election, so they’ll assume it won’t help them either, giving them less incentive to support the issue.

But these members losing also ensured that Democrats would take control of the House, and therefore remove Republican leadership who were stonewalling legalization every step of the way.

We’ll see over the next few years if these midterms were the boost marijuana legalization needed, or if there’s still more work to come.

(h/​t Marijuana Moment)

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