Should We Be Disappointed by the Pace of Federal Marijuana Law Reform?

[Canniseur: This is a good and reasoned explanation about why we haven’t reformed cannabis laws at the national level. It’s still infuriating to me however. Cannabis laws were enacted for racist reasons, not for reasons of science. People in the 1930s were afraid that black people were getting to ‘uppity’ along with the Mexicans and you’ve got to remember the ‘entertainers’.  Especially those jazz musicians. While the origins of the anti cannabis laws were based in racism, they’re institutionalized now and we need to move past the laws. It’s not a fast nor easy process.]

I’m a cynical person by nature. I try to fight against this – you can see me struggle with it almost daily on our video news show Cannabis News – for a few reasons. One is that I just don’t want to be that person. Cynicism can be healthy, but can quickly reach toxic levels if you’re not careful.

Another reason is that no one wants to hear constant negativity; it’s boring at best and maddening at worst. No one wants to tune into a video cast 5 days a week to hear someone tell them how much everything sucks. They want information, entertainment and some knowledge on how they can help advance the cause of cannabis law reform.

One of the main areas I have to fight my cynical nature so hard is federal marijuana law reform. Besides having absolutely no confidence in the abilities of people who run for and win federal office, I don’t trust them as far as I can spit, to borrow a down-home turn-of-phrase. These are the people that will lead us to salvation? I doubt it.

See what I mean? I have to fight that, because to be quite frank, they have to get the job done. No one else can legalize marijuana on a federal level except for federal lawmakers and officials. There is no plan B or appeals. They get it done or it does not get done.

So what should be done by the rest of us? I would submit that we have to focus on positive movements and push on all fronts for the rest. Celebrate little victories while never being satisfied with them.

“As an advocate who has been working on marijuana policy reform for nearly 20 years, I am pleased with the increased rate of legislative action in the House, but I could be more pleased,” Don Murphy, Director of Federal Policies for The Marijuana Policy Project, told The Marijuana Times. “We’ve had hearings on veteran’s access and banking, and more and more members are asking cannabis related questions of witnesses regardless of the hearing topic. (See Homeland Security, Attorney General, Treasury Secretary) I would be more pleased if those bills (or the dozens that have been filed) had made it to the Senate, or even the House Floor. To use a football analogy, we’re still in the first quarter of the term, so I’ll reserve judgement for about a year. Of course if I was a terminally ill patient, or one of the thousands of people who will be arrested tomorrow, I would not be happy.”

Progress is good, but what we have so far is not nearly enough. As I’ve said many times before, trouble in the Senate and even from the White House is to be expected, but with the expulsion of Pete Sessions and the Democrat takeover of the House, one would be forgiven for wondering why there have been zero floor votes for marijuana bills in the lower chamber.

An obvious roadblock would be the almost constant battle for positioning between President Trump and the Democrats. When you’re focused on trying to destroy the careers of your political enemies, other considerations tend to fall through the cracks.

And, according to Don, Democrats should be wary of an end run on the issue from Republicans. “I should also point out that it was a Republican controlled House that passed the Rohrabacher (medical) amendment, and President Trump has indicated his support for a Tenth Amendment approach (STATES) to marijuana policy, so Democrats need to deliver something substantial or risk being compared unfavorably to the GOP,” he said.

Lawmakers have a lot on their plate to be sure, but advancing legislation is their job, after all. There is nothing wrong with asking why they are not doing it better while recognizing advancements have been made.

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