With the start of a new legislative session kicking off this week, cannabis enthusiasts are hopeful for a year of progress on cannabis bills like the SAFE Act to jumpstart the industry out of its current lull and bring more legitimacy to its legalization movement. Well, keep waiting.
Despite Congress’ holiday break, President Donald J. Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives and the Senate is going to have to act at some point, leaving cannabis and every other possible issue on the back burner. I take that back, cannabis won’t be on the back burner, it won’t even be in the kitchen.
When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s stops stonewalling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and turns over the Articles of Impeachment, which many expect will happen this week, Senate rules state that the trial must commence the next day by 1 pm and all Senators must be in their seats for the entirety of the trial. Meaning – all other legislative business in the Senate comes to a standstill and cannabis is an afterthought.
If the Senate trial is anything like President Clinton’s trial which went for six weeks, all of January will be sucked up and run us deep into February, (which opens a whole other can of worms for cannabis that I’ll come back to in a later post, stay tuned.) Congress will want to get back to its actual legislative priorities, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, surveillance reform, funding the government and not to mention, now a potential war with Iran. Cannabis is nowhere on this list, especially in the Senate where it needs to find support.
While it may seem that Trump and McConnell want to bring the Senate trial to a quick close and end this “witch hunt,” it’s in the President’s and the Republicans’ best interest to drag it out and use it for every ounce of PR fuel that it’s going to provide for the upcoming election. In the meantime, cannabis bills will be set aside, and their fate sealed like 96% of all other legislation introduced during a Congress – a slow, quiet, unnoticed death.
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