Congressional Democrats Prove They're Serious About Legalization With First Cannabis Reform Panel

The fact that congressional Democrats held a marijuana reform panel during their latest policy retreat is the latest sign that the party is finally taking the issue of marijuana legalization seriously.

During a policy retreat last week, congressional Democrats were treated to something a little different than what they normally get. For the first time, a panel on federal cannabis reform was presented to the retreat's attendees.

The panel appears to have approached cannabis legalization as a necessity and not a topic for debate. Speakers focused on how the legal cannabis industry should be structured in order to promote equity and address the long-running racial injustices of the federal government's War on Drugs. Advocates invited to the panel praised their hosts for addressing cannabis at the retreat. 

The panel is "another indication of how seriously the Dems are taking the issue around marijuana reform and their centering of marijuana reform having to be a conversation that's broader than just descheduling," Queen Adesuyi—Policy Coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance and one of the event's speakers–told Marijuana Moment. "It seems like Dems are at the point where they are more fully understanding the breadth of what it means to end marijuana prohibition."

A number of pieces of legislation were also discussed during the retreat. Lawmakers considered the merits of de facto legalization bills such as the Marijuana Justice Act and the STATES Act.

Given that most of the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls are running on marijuana-friendly campaigns, it's not much of a surprise that Democratic members of Congress would start brushing up on their cannabis knowledge. And with Democrats now in control of the House, any pro-cannabis candidate that makes it to the Oval Office will certainly find support for legalization in Congress.


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