Just when you thought all hopes of "reaching across the aisle" have gone up in smoke, well they actually have. Introducing The Congressional Cannabis Caucus!
Launched by two democrats, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Colorado's Jared Polis and two republicans, Dana Rohrabacher of California and Alaska's Don Young, the bipartisan caucus want to coordinate and mesh the prohibitive federal laws with the growing number of permissive use states' laws. All four coincidentally are from state where recreational marijuana is legal and made the announcement of its formation this past week.
Having personally derived benefits from medicinal marijuana himself, representative Blumenauer said that "the prohibition of cannabis has been a failure and Americans across our nation are demanding a more sensible approach. Federal laws are now out of step with 44 states."
Armed with bipartisan co-sponsorship, Rohrabacher introduced a measure called the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017 which seeks to protect people from marijuana-related prosecutions under the Controlled Substances Act, as long as they are in compliance with state laws.
With a majority of Americans supporting legalizing marijuana in one form or another, these caucus representatives are "cautiously optimistic the President Trump will maintain the commitment he made on the campaign trail where he said it would be a state issue". And this is true even in light of the concerns about the new Attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
The Cannabis Caucus will bring together members of both parties to participate in the advancement of sensible cannabis policy reform.
As would be expected, some of the industry's top leading lobbying groups and associations like NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project have issued a joint statement commending these lawmakers.
There is some irony to the notion that Washington may finally find consensus because of an unpartisan and unpretentious green plant.