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Coronavirus Spells Doom For Federal Cannabis Legislation

Politics and impeachment already had slowed things down

Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) road map for the current Congress ended in full legalization by the end of 2019.

But instead of a complete overhaul of the nation’s cannabis laws in the 116th Congress, one chamber passed one cannabis bill on one issue. Impeachment killed the remaining momentum, and the coronavirus then changed the course entirely, torching the chances of any standalone cannabis legislation passing Congress this year.

The only remaining hope for the blueprint lies in attaching provisions to must-pass coronavirus aid or appropriations bills.

“It’s gonna be a very difficult prospect,” said Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.). “It is going to be very difficult to get direct aid for the cannabis industry.”

The outcome is stark given this was considered the most pro-cannabis Congress ever. Broad legalization may have been a dream given the Senate’s makeup, but it seemed possible that Congress could pass some laws that would bridge the gap between federal law and states that have legalized cannabis for adult use.

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