Why are Politicians Suddenly Embracing Marijuana?

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Have you ever wondered how long may politicians be able to ignore the overwhelming evidence for the legalization of cannabis and most importantly, the steadily shifting public opinion?

Well, it looks like the time has come and the long-awaited changes in perspective are coming to Washington.

A shift in the Federal government’s view about cannabis seems to be unfolding.  

All of a sudden it seems to be happening and everyone from the president to representatives from both political parties are now more open to embracing the benefits of legalizing marijuana.

Politicians Embrace Marijuana

Don Murphy, the director of conservative outreach for Marijuana Policy Project thinks that we have reached a critical mass among the people years ago but it has finally reached Capitol Hill.

He said that the politics of it are making more sense than ever even among the Republicans.

Charles Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader from New York recently announced that he has decided to back the movement to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. He will also support the policies that will help businesses in the cannabis industry to grow.

The Senator from New York explained an “evolved thinking – both personally and by the nation” on his decision to change his mind on cannabis.

This is the first time a leader from both political parties in the Congress gave their support on a rollback of one of the U.S.’ longstanding drug laws, David Weigel from The Washington Post wrote.

A few weeks ago, President Donald Trump gave his word to Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner that he would make sure that states with legal marijuana are protected.

President Trump’s promise is rather contradictory to what his attorney general did earlier this year by rescinding the policies created by former President Obama that allowed the states to create their own cannabis legislation without the fear of being prosecuted by the federal government.

President Trump's administration

Despite President Trump’s promise, it is still unknown how he will reconcile his promise and the actions of his cabinet.

Last week, the House of Representatives met for the first time to discuss the legislation regarding the future of medical marijuana regulations.

John Boehner, a Former Republican House Speaker and a critic of the marijuana legalization movement also did a surprising turn-around and declared that he will join the board of directors of a cannabis company.

Advocates of the movement to legalize marijuana said that there is actually nothing notable that sparked the sudden change of hearts of these politicians. But the evidence and testimonies from the states that have already legalized marijuana are starting to reach the politicians in Washington.

Perhaps the benefits reaped by those states and the voice of the public which is louder than ever brought some sense to the officials and they finally took notice.

As of the moment, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, while, adult use of cannabis is legal in nine states as well as the District of Columbia.

Supporters of the movement are optimistic that the numbers will only grow now that the 2020 presidential elections are fast approaching.

Republicans vs Democrats

51 percent of the Republicans and 72 percent of the Democrats support the legalization marijuana, a Gallup poll conducted October last year found.

Republican legislators in Michigan are also thinking about legalizing the adult use of cannabis rather than wait and let an already steaming initiative make the ballot November this year. Political analysts believe that the members of the GOP are afraid that the ballot measure would only give the Democratic party a huge boost.

Sometime this year, voters in Utah and Oklahoma will vote for measures with regards to marijuana.

Two years ago, the same process made medical cannabis legal with an overwhelming win in the states of Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota. President Trump won in those states.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat is facing a famous challenger in Cynthia Nixon. Nixon made marijuana legalization one of the main points of her campaign.

Cuomo also has made some initiatives this year in support of the marijuana legalization movement with a nationwide study on cannabis legalization and what could New York learn from it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo

But as expected, not everyone in Washington agrees on this sudden movement to make marijuana legal in the country.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana held a press conference in Washington a few weeks ago, to counter the advocates.

Kevin Sabet, the group’s director said that they would be more aggressive in their actions in ramping up their federal lobbying attempts.

Sabet also said that they would call the support of families who have family members who suffered from the opioid crisis. Although several studies already disproved marijuana’s role in opioid overdose, Sabet still believes that 80 percent of the patients used marijuana that leads them to their current conditions.

In an interview with the Washington Post, he said that he believes that politicians would reject the decriminalization of marijuana. But he added that he also thinks that it is inevitable.

Although the Smart Approaches to Marijuana is doing their best against the rising movement, it seems that they are losing the battle as of the moment with more and more politicians publicly voicing their support for cannabis.

Whatever their reasons are, we should be happy that more politicians are evolving and seeing the issue in a positive light.

Share your thoughts on these political shifts with us in the comments below. 

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