Marijuana now has its own official club in Congress, thanks to Colorado congressman Jared Polis and three of his colleagues.
The Boulder lawmaker on Thursday joined with fellow Democrat Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, as well as Republicans Dana Rohrabacher of California and Don Young of Alaska, in launching the Cannabis Caucus — a group dedicated to promoting and protecting the nascent industry of legalized weed.
“We’re really at the tipping point on marijuana reform,” said Polis, who highlighted the growing number of states that have legalized for various uses. “For the first time, it’s a majority of Americans that will have access to medical or recreational marijuana.”
The effort comes at a critical time for the industry. Though it’s made strides nationally, and settled comfortably in Colorado since sales of recreational marijuana began in 2014, there remain a number of pressing issues — starting with President Donald Trump’s appointment of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.
The former Alabama senator has raised concerns about the drug and said previously that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” The attitude has prompted anxiety among cannabis companies who are nervous that federal authorities under Trump and Sessions could take a more combative stance toward states that have legalized marijuana.
“Many of us have expressed concerns about the new attorney general,” Polis said. “We’re also cautiously hopeful that President Trump will maintain a commitment he made on the campaign trail where he said it would be a state issue.”
He added the Cannabis Caucus also will be active on legislation related to marijuana. “Issues ranging from banking to tax deductions to employment issues to potential for enforcement,” said Polis, who highlighted his own bill that to regulate weed like alcohol.
The new Cannabis Caucus will be among more than 200 different issue-related groups that have attracted like-minded members of the House. They range from the serious, such as the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism, to groups that have rallied around specific causes or industries, including the Bourbon Caucus, the Motorcycle Caucus and the Rugby Caucus.
Original Article via TheCannabist