Congress’ Weed Guy Grapples With The Trump Administration
By Eliot Nelson
WASHINGTON ― Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has been selling weed for years.
Actually, let’s rephrase: Blumenauer, the bespectacled, bow tie-clad, bicycle-riding lawmaker whose district covers much of ― where else ― Portland, has been one of America’s most outspoken public officials on liberalizing America’s marijuana laws.
It now has fallen on Blumenauer to partake in a different type of weed dealing: serving as an unofficial liaison between official Washington and a cannabis industry that is, even by its own vigilant standards, pretty spooked by the prospect of a federal crackdown on it.
Though voters in eight states voted to legalize recreational or medical marijuana consumption in November, Donald Trump’s election and the confirmation of Jeff Sessions, an outspoken marijuana critic, as attorney general has stepped on a lot of buzzes.
“The Trump presidency has sent shockwaves virtually everywhere,” Blumenauer told HuffPost this week, “and it has been an area of special concern for people who deal with marijuana because it appears that Jeff Sessions is no great friend of the industry.”
“I think people are kind of torn,” Blumenauer said. “They see this amazing groundswell of support for state legal marijuana ― we’ve seen a huge shift in public opinion ― but they’re apprehensive and they should be.”
Marijuana remains classified a schedule one narcotic under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, meaning the federal government deem it to have a “high potential for abuse” and “has no currently accepted medical use.” That puts it in the same class as heroin and flies in the face of decades of research.
Overall, twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of marijuana consumption. […]