While America deals with a pandemic and policing issues, efforts to legalize marijuana have slowed to a crawl. Several states will have initiatives on the November ballot, but that number will be far fewer than in 2016, when there were nine on the ballot (eight won).
Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives:
• Dems Stimulus Bill Includes Bank Access for Cannabis Companies
Passed in September by the House, the SAFE Banking Act would allow the cannabis industry to have access to banking services and financial institutions. That same provision has now been folded into the $3 trillion Democratic stimulus bill (a.k.a. the Heroes Act). The Act would also provide funds for a government study on minority and women cannabis business owners.
• House Majority Leader Pelosi Calls Cannabis Therapeutic
In defense of the cannabis-related inclusions in the Heroes Act, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said about marijuana at a press conference on July 31:
"This is a therapy that has proven successful."
• AOC Blasts DNC Over Marijuana Platform
After Democratic National Committee delegates voted to back marijuana decriminalization rather than legalization 105-60 in the party platform on July 27, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) voiced her disagreement, telling thenewsstation.com:
"It’s embarrassing. It’s so backwards. This just goes to show why the progressive movement is so important right now, because it defies all logic to me, especially when we’re talking about policing... There's an ideological diversity in the party, and right now, the top of the ticket is in the more conservative part of the party, and that’s the reality.”
About former Vice President Joe Biden, the likely Democratic Party presidential nominee, who refuses to endorse legalization and inste3ad regularly calls for further research first, she noted:
“His attitude towards it is very personal, and it’s been shaped over decades of attitudes towards marijuana. And that doesn’t just change when you present someone with research and popular support."
"The progressive movement continues to be at the forefront of the party. Making sure that the ideas and frankly, the rights and the issues that we’re going to be contending with the next generation, we start to address right now... This issue [is] not even about being futuristic or next generation. This is an idea whose time has come.”
Last November, she tweeted:
Marijuana should be legalized, and drug consumption should be decriminalized.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 18, 2019
These are matters of public health.
• Blumenauer-McClintock Amendment Passes
On July 30, the Blumenauer-McClintock Amendment passed in the House by a 254-163 vote. It would protect legal cannabis programs in dozens of states, territories and tribal lands from Department of Justice intervention. The lead sponsors are Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
“The American people are demanding a change to our outdated cannabis laws and I'm glad to see my colleagues heeding their calls,” stated Blumenauer, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, in a press release. “As we work to ultimately end the senseless prohibition of cannabis and the failed War on Drugs, these amendments will help ensure the protection of legal state, territory and tribal cannabis programs.”
Lee added: "For far too long, our federal cannabis policies have been rooted in our discriminatory past and have continued inflicting harm on communities of color. As the public’s views toward cannabis have evolved, Congress has a responsibility to ensure that our policies follow suit and move toward restorative justice. I’m proud to have worked alongside Reps. Blumenauer, McClintock and Holmes Norton on this crucial amendment to protect the progress states, tribes and territories have made toward ending the discriminatory War on Drugs.”