A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from states with adult-use cannabis laws have come together to form the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, hoping to embolden support for normalizing the industry on the federal level.
California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, said the lawmakers are seeking “to make major changes” in the national attitude toward cannabis. “If we do, many people are going to live better lives,” he said during a press conference announcing the caucus’ launch.
Rohrabacher is joined on the caucus by Democratic Representatives Earl Blumenauer (Oregon) and Jared Polis (Colorado), and Rohrabacher’s fellow Republican Rep. Donald Young (Alaska).
“We will be trying to do everything we can to keep the momentum going that we’ve established in these last four to five years as we’ve seen great progress on this issue,” Roharbacher said. “Now with a new administration it’s vitally important that we pay attention and don’t do this haphazardly and we get together and have a professional presentation to the people of the United States and to our fellow members of why it’s important to us to take the policies that have not worked…and change those policies so it works for the people of this country.”
Blumenauer said he has become “deeply concerned” about the gap between the public and the policy makers, between “what is rational policy, and where the federal government is,” he said.
“We saw this wave crest in November with eight states moving successful ballot measure to expand adult-use or medical marijuana,” he said. “We’re at the point now where 95 percent of the American public are in states or territories where some aspect of marijuana or medical marijuana is available.”
During the press conference, the members indicated they would be seeking like-minded legislators to join their cause.