It’s not just because it’s 4/20 — although that contributed to at least one important senator’s announcement that he’s come around to the idea of decriminalizing marijuana.
Marijuana legalization advocates say they’ve had the best week in Washington since — well, ever. And it’s thanks to politicians on both sides, including the president, suddenly embracing efforts to help more states legalize marijuana.
“I think we reached critical mass among the population years ago,” said Don Murphy, the director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, “but I think we are finally reaching critical mass on Capitol Hill now.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Friday that he has decided to support decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level and will advocate bills to help marijuana businesses grow (no pun intended). Schumer cited an “evolved thinking — both personally and by the nation” for his switch. As The Washington Post’s David Weigel writes, “It’s the first time that a leader of either party in Congress has endorsed a rollback of one of the country’s oldest drug laws.”
The Friday before, President Trump promised a Senate Republican from Colorado that he would protect states that have legalized marijuana. That’s in stark contrast to what Trump’s attorney general did earlier this year by rolling back Obama-era protections allowing states to create their own marijuana laws without fear of prosecution from the federal government. (The federal government says marijuana is illegal.) Trump’s position on reconciling the different laws was vague before this.
This week, the House of Representatives held one of its first hearings ever on legislation to roll back medical marijuana regulations.
And last week, former Republican House speaker John A. Boehner pulled a stunning 180