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How Is Congress Working to Legalize Marijuana?
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Summary: The support to legalize marijuana on a federal level is growing. 

There are numerous marijuana-related laws being passed around Congress, signaling that federal legalization may be on the horizon.


“Over the past decade, marijuana legalization has happened at break-neck speed at the state and local level. And yet, pot-related reforms have moved glacially at the federal level, especially since prohibitionist Jeff Sessions was confirmed as attorney general. But his staunch opposition and attempt to roll back Obama-era protections for local marijuana businesses have actually attracted new support to a flurry of marijuana-related bills that have been picking up support in this Congress,” Rolling Stone said.

Rolling Stone stated that Republican and Democratic lawmakers are working on bills that delve into several marijuana-related issues. One topic, for instance, is calling for federal decriminalization. There are a few bills going through Capitol Hill, but New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, wants to introduce his own legislation in the near future.

“This is something that is long overdue, and I would hope to see it happen,” Senate Minority Leader Schumer told Rolling Stone.

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Another bipartisan bill wants to give states the rights to override the federal ban on marijuana. Currently, federal law does not allow medicinal and recreational marijuana, but enforcement is different from state-to-state. However, this stance has been threatened by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who vowed to prioritize marijuana enforcement.

Rolling Stone said that the best chance of pro-marijuana legislation passing with a Republican-majority Congress is if the bills focus on studying marijuana for medical testing.

“I need to know what are the risks, the benefits, the doses, the black box warnings,” Representative Phil Roe, who chairs the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, told Rolling Stone. “Does it work better than placebo? Does it not? I don’t know why we took so long to get here.”

Congress has also been pushing to allow marijuana businesses to have access to banks and credit cards. Currently, businesses that exist in states that allow recreational marijuana such as Colorado cannot receive loans because banks are prohibited from providing money for federal illegal activity.

Congress also wants to remove marijuana from their list of controlled substances. Representative Barbara Lee of California, a Democrat, introduced a bill last summer to delist marijuana, and she said that lawmakers need to catch up with the desires of the people.

“The people are always ahead of their elected officials and, I think, what I see is the elected officials are catching up with the people,” Lee told Rolling Stone. “So, that’s why I’m so excited about the movement that has got us this far. I want to encourage everyone to get to their elected officials, get to their members of Congress and tell them what this is about and why this needs to pass.”

What do you think of legalized marijuana? Let us know in the comments below.


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