Next month is the very important midterm elections, and many people believe that if the House and/or Senate flip back to Democratic control, it could be very good for marijuana legalization in the United States. And now one congressman is introducing his plan to make that a reality.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer, from Oregon, wrote a letter to Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives outlining his plan to legalize marijuana if the Dems retake the House next month. Right now, most experts believe the Democrats will regain control of the House, but will not do so in the Senate. So Blumenauer's plan is to drive marijuana legislation from the House to put pressure on Republicans in the Senate to take action as well.
The first part of Blumenauer's plan is for every committee in Congress to hold at least one hearing on marijuana legalization and potential policy changes within the first six months of the new Congress. In April, he would want these committees to begin working on bills to help remove barriers to cannabis research, help people who've been convicted of marijuana crimes and more, with the goal of passing those bills by August. He also said he wants a bill next September to completely deschedule marijuana from the list of controlled substances.
While Democrats may be more open to marijuana legalization than Republicans, Democratic leadership doesn't necessarily seem as enthused as Blumenauer about getting it done. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer says leadership hasn't discussed the issue, and House Minority Leader (and likely Speaker of the House if the Democrats retake it) Nancy Pelosi says that marijuana legalization would largely depend on President Donald Trump's support for the issue.
So while Democrats definitely seem more open to legalization, don't take Blumenauer's blueprint as an actual timeline for when the United States will follow its neighbors to the north.