Shifting Conservative Attitudes Toward Cannabis Reflected In New Efforts By The Congressional Cannabis Caucus

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research from Gallup A study released last year shows that a record number of Americans support some form of legalization of cannabis, as more states pass laws legalizing the medical and recreational adult uses of cannabis. As a result, both parties represented in Congress have taken federal cannabis policy more seriously.

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In the Republican Party, for example, a majority now support legalization (though, of course, there is a proper degree voters think it should look like in practice), and these changing attitudes are now reflected in the halls of Congress, where Republican lawmakers are leading several bills that have pulled back the curtain on federal prohibition and sparked new discussions. has inspired. What federal regulation of cannabis should look like.

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Last fall, Representative Nancy Mays (R-SC-1) introduced HR 5977, the state reform act, a bill to end federal cannabis prohibition and tax the product. Prior to the States Reform Act, Representative Greg Stub (R-FL-17) introduced HR 430, the Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act, one of several initiatives to now provide medical access to cannabis to veterans. And in the spring of 2021, the late Representative Don Young (R-AK-at-large) demonstrated how conservative federal cannabis policy was with the introduction of HR 2830, the GRAM Act, a bill to protect the Second Amendment rights of adults in states. can be seen. Where cannabis is permitted.

However, the list of Republican-led initiatives neither begins nor stops there.

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Representative Dave Joyce (R-OH-14), a Republican co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has been at the forefront of a conservative effort to implement strategic cannabis reform at the federal level. 115. inth Congress, he first introduced the States Act with Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), a founding co-chair of the caucus.

In May 2021, he introduced the first Republican-led bill to end federal cannabis prohibition, HR 3105, the Common Sense Cannabis Reform Act. The bill was the first in either house or party to recognize the need for federal regulation. It quickly gained bipartisan support, which remains an important underlying theme of Mr. Joyce’s cannabis reform efforts. This is why he is often considered a pimp to Republicans on the issue, especially in today’s narrowly divided margins in the House and Senate.

In December of 2021, he worked with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) to introduce HR 6129, the HOPE Act, which aims to end petty and nonviolent state and local cannabis punishment. The goal of this bipartisan law would be to expand economic opportunities for individuals and communities who have been affected by those crimes in the past. Notably, the only language that has been signed into law to date that allows federal dollars to support the removal of cannabis was secured by Representative Joyce.

And this April, he again joined forces with notable Progressive Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08) and newly appointed Republican Caucus co-chair Brian Mast (R-FL-18) and introduced Effectively creating a regulatory framework for the Post Prohibition Adult Use Regulated Environment (PREPARE) Act.

The bill would establish an inaugural federal commission to advise on a final federal regulatory framework for cannabis. Even as co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Mr. Joyce has been vocal about the need for federal regulation of cannabis, and has been critical of legislation that does not contain it. Despite much pushback, Joyce has remained steadfast in his belief that regulation is vital not only to a safe and prosperous legal environment, but also to the creation of bipartisan buy-in to end federal prohibition. The position has resonated across the ideological spectrum, as Senate Democrats are expected to launch a comprehensive reform package with substantial focus on federal rules later this summer.

Some bipartisan bills on cannabis have already been passed in both houses.

The most notable example is HR 1996, the Safe and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which has so far passed the US House of Representatives six times, most recently voted in support by more than 100 Republicans. Many remember a time when Republican support for SAFE was the exception to cannabis policy, not the rule. Many attribute this progress to the tireless work of Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-7) on the issue and Mr. among top House Republicans and industry stakeholders in redrawing the bill needed to require public safety to attract conservatives. Joyce’s advocacy. This is a demonstration of the need for a bipartisan cannabis type. Without it, the critical speed will fade.

It will take both Republicans and their Democratic allies to eventually send cannabis legislation to the president’s table, and it is clear that Republicans are slowly coming together on the subject, and accepting the market exists. It also shows that all upcoming cannabis laws for the movement will need to be compromised.

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