Federal Legalization of Marijuana Not Likely Soon but Proponents Are Trying

Tuesday, Aug 8, 2017

U.S. Sen. Corey Booker, D- NJ, this month introduced legislation to pave the way for federal legalization of marijuana. His proposed Marijuana Justice Act would make marijuana use legal nationwide and also encourage states to legalize it at the local level.

However, his bill has one major problem. The chances of it becoming law in the current political landscape in Washington are essentially zero.

Most media reports on Booker’s bill acknowledge this fact. Politico gave it “virtually no chance” to become law. Even enthusiastic pro-marijuana Rolling Stone admitted it faces“an uphill battle.”

It’s likely more than uphill. It’s likely impossible.

Related: L.A. Considers Plan for City-Owned Bank Friendly to Marijuana Businesses

At this point, trying to get marijuana legalized at the federal level is like trying to come from 21 points down against the 1985 Chicago Bears defense. The GOP has earned that comparison. They have done a stellar job locking down congressional and legislative races.

Republicans control both houses in the 115 U.S. Congress, which will run through January 2019. They hold 52 of the 100 Senate seats. The other 48 are divided between Democrats (46) and Independents (2).