Who’s been blocking the federal cannabis bills?

by DGO Staff

Well, according to Cory Booker, it’s Mitch McConnell

Surprise, surprise. As it turns out, that jerk who looks like an old turtle is allegedly the one blocking all the federal cannabis bills.

While you may have been under the impression that the opposition to cannabis is widespread among conservative lawmakers, Senator Cory Booker said recently that it is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who is opposed to marijuana policy reform — and, in turn, is the one who’s blocking cannabis bills from being approved by his Republican colleagues.

In fact, McConnell has said in the past that blocking cannabis reform is one of his pet priorities. And, it appears he’s making good on that because Booker said that McConnell’s opposition is what precisely what’s preventing the passage of monumental marijuana legislation in Congress before the end of the year. And conveniently, control of the House will switch to the GOP in January.

Cannabis policy reform advocates were hoping to pass the legislation prior to control of the House of Representatives passing to the Republican Party. However, McConnell’s opposition to cannabis reform bills, including legislation focused on restorative justice for those harmed by marijuana prohibition and a bill that would allow the legal cannabis industry access to banking services, is having an influence on other GOP senators.

At this point, it is super clear that the Republican party is dead set against anything pro-cannabis. This shouldn’t come as a considerable shock, but one would hope that over time, the stigma attached to cannabis would subside — especially after nearly two dozen states have legalized it at the state level.

And now, with Republicans set to take control of the House, we can be almost certain that any and all marijuana legislation will be left off the table. If cannabis policy reform advocates do not pass a bill prior to the end of the year, the change in leadership makes progress a long shot for at least the next two years.

The current cannabis policy reform is largely focused on the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, which would ease access to traditional financial services for regulated marijuana businesses. This Act is extremely important for the industry, which has struggled with access to bank-ing since its inception, and provisions of the bill have been passed by the House a total of seven times since 2019 — literally seven times — but the measure still needs to gain the approval of the Senate.

In fact, language from the most recent version of the SAFE Banking Act was included in the House version of an annual defense spending bill. But guess what? The cannabis provisions were left out of the version released last week.

For his part, Booker is doing everything possible get the bill passed, but thinks that Mcconnell’s influence over his colleagues is strong enough to keep it from happening. After all, most politicians are expected to tow a certain line, and part of that line is going with what the turtle man McConnell says. If he puts his head back in his turtle shell when it comes time to vote, chances are that his fellow party members are going to do the same.


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