What does the Political Climate have in Store for Marijuana?

Everyone has heard the success stories of the legal marijuana industries in Washington and Colorado. For example, experts vastly underestimated the effect that legalized marijuana would have on state taxes. Reports from 2016 claim that Colorado saw a 129 million dollar increase to state taxes and Washington saw 220 million.

“No matter the size of the state budget, 200 million dollars is still a very substantial amount of money. Legislatures at the state level who are looking to revitalize their local communities could start looking to marijuana law reform to create the cash needed to fund their efforts,” explains a spokesperson for NugRepublic.

Democrats believe that in order to get Republicans on board with marijuana reform, the tax money received from marijuana sales will have to go to projects the right can get behind. Just last year Democrats in West Virginia tried to persuade Republicans with the promise of a large increase in funds for education: a bipartisan issue. Sadly, the efforts still failed.

More people than ever support the legalization of marijuana. This means that 2018 could be the year we see more states than ever legalize the natural plant. Below I’ve listed five ways politics could either get in the way of or advance the legalization effort.

JEFF SESSIONS

If you haven’t heard of Jeff Sessions, your luck has just ran out. Jeff Sessions is the current Attorney General of the United States. Jeff Session has been very vocal about his stance on marijuana.

In January of 2018 Jeff Sessions rescinded memos put forth by the Obama Department of Justice. The memo contained orders to not prosecute marijuana users and sellers in states that have made those activities legal. With these memos no longer in affect, government agencies are free to act.

VIRGINIA’S NEW GOVERNOR

During a special election in Virginia, the state elected Ralph Northam, who made marijuana decriminalization a centerpiece during his campaign. The now Governor of Virginia took a light approach to marijuana reform, but this could lead to legalization in the State of Virginia.

THE FIGHT AGAINST OPIATES

After a paper published by the American Journal of Public Health was released a debate was sparked all over the nation. The paper concluded that Colorado’s date of legalizing marijuana directly coincides with the decline in opiate related deaths in the state.

The five states who could benefit the most from a decrease in opiate overdoses are Ohio, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. This is something lawmakers must be made aware of.

FLIPPING CONGRESS

Thirty-Seven elected offices have switched hands since the election of President Donald Trump. Surprisingly those seats have been given to Democrats and not Republicans. As this trend continues, the possibility of seeing the Senate flip come the 2018 mid-terms is getting larger.

The number 37, however, does not represent only federal congressional seats, but also state legislatures and governor seats. Currently the Republicans hold a majority in the Senate with 51 members. Democrats have 47 and 2 are Independent, but the independents tend to vote with the Democrats. That means it would take only one seat to change hands to tie up the Senate and only two for Democrats to take over majority voting power. If Democrats gain control of the Senate it could lead to a federal initiative to legalize marijuana.

DONALD TRUMP

Trump, during his State of the Union address, spoke about an infrastructure plan to rebuild America. This initiative would mark the first piece of bipartisan legislation put forth by the Trump White House. Many believe he has done so as a way to get the people on his side. With his approval ratings falling to historic lows at lightning speeds, the President needs something to attract new supporters. What better than hitting the niche market of marijuana users?

I’ll admit the last one is a bit far fetched, but Trump did sign the Rohrabacher – Blumenauer Amendment attached to a spending bill. The Amendment prevents the Justice Department from prosecuting people in states with legal marijuana. Someone probably should have informed Jeff Sessions. Keep up with marijuana news with NugRepublic.

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