A small bi-partisan group has formed the Congressional Cannabis Caucus to lobby for legal reform on Capitol Hill.
Late last week, four members of the U.S. Congress held a press conference to announce the formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), Dana Rohrabacher (D-California), Don Young (R-Alaska), and Jared Polis (D-Colorado) represent the group’s initial membership.
“We’re stepping forward together to say we’ve got to make major changes in our country’s attitude toward cannabis,” Rep. Rohrabacher said at the press conference. “And if we do, many people are going to live better lives, it’s going to be better for our country, better for people, and it makes economic sense at a time when every penny must count for government.”
A total of 28 states have legalized medical cannabis and eight have approved recreational use. Millennials support legal cannabis in the highest numbers and may already be the largest voting bloc in the U.S. It seems that support for legal cannabis is likely to remain steady.
To some, this may seem like an odd time to form a pro-cannabis caucus. Despite a surge in popularity, cannabis may face new opposition from the Trump administration.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been a longtime opponent of cannabis reform. He has suggested cannabis is a potential gateway to heroin use. In a more direct criticism, he once said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” on the Senate floor.
The Congressional Cannabis Caucus may be launching at just the right time. Legislative change in Congress could go a long way toward easing the anxiety of the cannabis industry and the uncertainty around what the Executive Branch intends to do.
Members of some of most recognized cannabis advocacy groups seemed upbeat about the new caucus. NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project, and the Drug Policy Alliance issued a joint statement on its formation. “We commend Representatives Blumenauer, Rohrabacher, Polis, and Young for their leadership on the issue of cannabis policy. The establishment of a Cannabis Caucus will allow members from both parties, who represent diverse constituencies from around the country, to join together for the purpose of advancing sensible cannabis policy reform,” the statement read.