Pot: Now it’s time for the feds

With the House flipped, committee memberships and leadership change dramatically, almost always for the better in the case of cannabis. Bills to address the marijuana situation have been filed, some for several years, but haven’t got any committee action. So those are ready to go.

A significant obstructionist was Pete Sessions (TX), but he got beat yesterday. Several new members are specifically on record supporting de-prohibition, but likely the leading proponent of more liberal laws got beat as well. Dana Rohrabacher (CA) was, oddly, dedicated to changing the laws despite his other political views.

The biggest headache at the federal level is the Controlled Substances Act, which lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug. That means it is highly addictive, has no known medical use, and is prone to abuse. Anyone even touching such a dangerous and illegal substance is committing a felony, banks cannot deal with such people, and standard business expenses cannot be deducted from federal taxes. Violators are subject to many years in prison, and there are thousands in jail. Those thousands are for the most part people of color, far out of proportion to expectations of equal treatment under the law.

Jeff Sessions wanted to start up the war again, but couldn’t ignore the political aspects as states legalized. His successor will hopefully at least be as careful in starting something.

So there’s a lot of work to do piled up in Congress, and we have no assurances anything will be done. It will be fun watching this.

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