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The Cannabis Revolution Comes to the Capitol

Pot policy is suddenly a hot topic for federal lawmakers — and on the 2020 campaign trail

Since the dawn of the Drug War, federal legislators have stood by, or even applauded, as millions of Americans have racked up convictions for marijuana offenses — with arrests increasing in the latest FBI crime statistics, despite nearly a dozen states having already legalized cannabis. But over the past two years, and now accelerating with Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives, federal marijuana reform has become a hot topic on the Hill. Congress is weighing measures to tax and regulate cannabis; to open the federal banking system to pot businesses; to allow the industry to claim federal tax deductions; and, most powerfully, to repair the harms created by generations of prohibitionist policies.

“The federal momentum around marijuana reform is at the highest we’ve ever seen,” says Queen Adesuyi, who coordinates federal policy for the Drug Policy Alliance. The issue has gained traction across the political spectrum, from right-wing Alaska Rep. Don Young to moderate Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to left-wing superstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Even former GOP House Speaker John Boehner has joined the board of a marijuana firm. “It’s an unprecedented moment,” Adesuyi says.    

“It’s not a question of if we’re going to get a federal law,” says Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat who represents pot-legal Oregon and is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. “It’s a question of when.” [Read More @ Rolling Stone]

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