As you may have heard, our northern neighbor recently legalized cannabis nationwide. Adults in any province of Canada can now purchase and consume legal recreational weed without worry. Of course there are laws and regulations that come with it, but there are also tax dollars and new jobs that come as well. The outlook of cannabis legalization in the U.S. is rocky due to current politics, but there’s some crazy possibilities for cannabis in 2019 thanks to the new House of Representatives.
A “Blueprint to Legalize Marijuana”
Let’s talk weed politics for a second. Before the midterm elections, Republicans were the majority in the House of Representatives. This means that the House overall was anti-legal cannabis legislation and they blocked many floor votes on weed-related amendments. In fact, not a single cannabis measure was even voted on by the entire House in the last two years. Now that Democrats hold the majority in the House, things are looking different.
Last month, Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer sent a letter to House Democratic leaders that outlined a plan to advance laws that would legalize cannabis nationwide by the end of 2019. His plan has been dubbed the “Blueprint to Legalize Marijuana” and would begin as early as this January.
It’s pretty unrealistic to think that federal legalization could happen right away, so the first step of the plan is to focus on what Congress is already working with. The House would work to pass 37 existing cannabis bills, and all Committees would work together to evaluate individual issues. For example:
- The House Judiciary Committee would have a hearing on de-scheduling cannabis, since this is the committee that works in that department.
- The House Veterans Affairs Committee would have a hearing on medical cannabis use for veterans.
The passage of these bills would also help to narrow the gap between federal and state weed laws – a goal set for April of next year. By September, the goal is to begin working on a “full descheduling bill” so it’s no longer a controlled substance at all.
However, support from the president to legalize it will largely affect if the law is enacted. He’s a money guy, so he might see the economic benefits to a federal legalization of pot. But then again, he’s pretty unpredictable.
Statewide Cannabis Laws
During Michigan’s midterm elections, recreational cannabis was made legal after voters passed Proposition 1. It joins a growing list of states with legal weed for adult use, and is the first Midwestern state to pass such a law. It’s predicted that by 2020, five more states will legalize: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Hampshire, and New Jersey.
Utah and Missouri also passed initiatives in their elections to legalize the medical use of cannabis, and Oklahoma voted for medical marijuana back in June.
Current polls show that up to 64% of Americans are actually rooting for legalization! 2019 might just be our year. States that have already legalized cannabis are experiencing the benefits already, such as more state revenue from the legal sales. People fear that legalizing weed will make it more accessible to younger people, but statistics show that there’s sometimes even a decrease in the number of teens who use weed. With this switch in politics from a Republican to a Democratic House of Representatives, next year could open many doors for the United States in the world of legal cannabis.