The Most Outspoken Pro-Cannabis Republican in Congress Loses Re-Election

In a night filled with victories for marijuana advocates, one race in California is somewhat bittersweet as one of the most outspoken pro-marijuana Republicans in Congress appears to be on his way out.

Republican Dana Rohrabacher is currently trailing by 1.4 percent to his Democratic challenger Harley Rouda. Mail-in ballots will still be coming in until Friday, so the race may still take a few weeks to officially declare a winner, but it definitely appears that Rohrabacher will most likely lose and no longer represent his district in Congress.

Rohrabacher is one of the most pro-marijuana advocates in Congress. He helped usher in the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment that protected states that legalized medical marijuana from interference by the federal government. And he's frequently spoken in favor of legalization in Congress.

However, Rohrabacher's loss does help Democrats solidify their majority in the House of Representatives, which may be more important than keeping Rohrabacher in office. Democrats have indicated that they will take up marijuana-related issues in the coming months, something Republicans have refused to do despite controlling the House, Senate and White House since Trump's election.

Rohrabacher is also shrouded in controversy over his relationship with the Russian government. He's frequently opposed bills to punish Russian agents, claims he once arm wrestled Vladimir Putin and was so central to Russian interests that the Kremlin have their own code word for Rohrabacher.

So on one hand, Congress is losing a prominent pro-marijuana voice. But they're being replaced by a party more supportive of cannabis issues.

(h/t Sacramento Bee)


President Trump's 2020 budget request includes a loophole that would let Washington, DC finally open up dispensaries for recreational cannabis. Although DC voters passed a ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis back in 2014, Congress has used its power over the nation's capital to prevent it from selling cannabis for recreational use. Right now, local dispensaries can only sell medical marijuana to registered patients thanks to Congress, which controls spending in the District of Columbia.

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