Advocates Float New Strategy To Pass Marijuana Legalization In Senate, With Democratic Support In Question

MJ moment

As Senate leaders work to draft a bill to federally legalize marijuana, there’s an elephant in the room: even with Democrats in control of the chamber, the votes might not be there to enact comprehensive reform. Recognizing the potential challenges of mustering 60 votes to overcome a filibuster for standalone legislation on the floor, advocates are urging leadership to pursue the policy change through a process known as budget reconciliation that would require a simple majority of 51 votes for a broader, must-pass package. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is spearheading the legalization push in his chamber, didn’t rule out that possibility at a press conference last week. Asked whether senators might try to incorporate the cannabis proposal into reconciliation, he said “you will hear in a few weeks the legislation that’ll answer” that question. “This is an option the Marijuana Justice Coalition shared” with the majority leader, Maritza Perez, director of the office of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, told Marijuana Moment. “The way we see it, a must-pass bill is the only vehicle that can ensure we pass a marijuana justice bill in this Senate.” Chris Lindsey, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment that it’s clear “Leader Schumer is taking seriously his commitment to see legalization happen at the federal level, and address the ongoing harm from prohibition.” “We have no doubt he is looking at all vehicles that can accomplish reform,” he said. But while going the reconciliation route might seem like a simple workaround that would relieve pressure to garner Republican supporters, the legislative process is complex, with a series of rules that limit what kind of measures can be enacted under the procedure in the first place. The so-called Byrd rule determines whether a given…

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Source : Advocates Float New Strategy To Pass Marijuana Legalization In Senate, With Democratic Support In Question

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