Many people are hoping that Congress will begin pushing more pro-marijuana legislation now that Democrats are in control of the House of Representatives. And one Democrat is definitely raising people's expectations.
Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer says that this Congress will be the most pro-marijuana in history. Blumenauer says Congress has made some progress towards cannabis goals, but has been "restrained" by members of the Republican leadership. But now that Democrats are in charge, Republican leaders won't be able to stop legislation anymore.
Blumenauer also said he's spoken to five dozen new members of Congress, and says many of them are at the very least open, and many are very supportive of marijuana legalization.
However, don't expect Democrats to push full-on legalization right away. Blumenauer says Democrats will be pushing smaller pieces of legislation first, such as allowing veterans access to medical marijuana, increasing federal research and giving cannabis businesses access to banking and other financial services. While that may not be as sexy as full on legalization, Blumenauer says passing these pieces of legislation will help build momentum for accomplishing bigger goals in the future.
Of course, Democrats only control the House of Representatives. They'll still need Republicans in the Senate to support their legislation in order to get it passed, and then they'll need President Trump's support to sign the bills. So it's possibly a little too early to assume that we're getting ready for some major shifts in marijuana policy.