In partnership with The Fresh Toast
Political analysts and cannabis advocates are all saying the same thing right now: The bill that the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives just passed to legalize marijuana at the national level (MORE Act) isn’t going to get through the Senate or become law.
The reason is that Republican Mitch McConnell is still in control of the upper chamber. The last time we checked, the self-proclaimed grim reaper of Capitol Hill wasn’t prepared to help the Democrats further their agenda, especially when it comes to marijuana. But McConnell might not get a say after all.
The Democrats still have a chance to win control of the U.S. Senate in Georgia’s upcoming runoff election. Georgia requires candidates to secure 50 percent of the vote to win. None of them achieved that in the November election. So they are duking it out once again for an official winner. All the Democrats have to do is win the two seats up for grabs in the Peach State, giving them 50 votes with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaker if one should be needed. Honestly, it will be a tight race, but the latest polls show the Democrats are ahead by a nose.
According to the FiveThirtyEight political podcast, Democrat Jon Ossoff is leading Republican Senator David Perdue. A new poll shows that Ossoff is gaining support by the day (presently at 48.3%), while Perdue’s fanfare is declining. As far as the other seat, Democrat Raphael Warnock is ahead of Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler by 1.7 points. Still, Warnock’s rating is on the decline, while Loeffler’s is holding fairly steady. Democrats must find a way to keep the voters on their side if they want a fighting chance at getting into Washington D.C. next year to make some changes.
President-elect Joe Biden is stepping in to help.
Biden will stop in Atlanta on Tuesday to try and drum up more support for Ossoff and Warnock. To say there is a lot at stake for Democrats in these final weeks would be an understatement. Failing to gain control of the Senate will mean at least a few more years of a divided Congress, more Mitch McConnell, and no new reforms getting passed. The United States would basically be put in a state of suspended animation by a Congress unable to reach a compromise — even with a newly-elected president running the show. So Democrats must win over the voters in Georgia over the next few weeks. If they succeed, then they will control both chambers of Congress.
That means McConnell will be run out on a rail. Democrats would then have the authority to appoint a new Senate Majority Leader and set the stage for bigger and better things. Like what, you ask? Well, the MORE Act, for starters. The bill, which was approved by the full House last week and expected to die a miserable death in the Senate, would advance in the upper chamber.
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So would the Medical Marijuana Research Act, which would expand research opportunities for scientists wanting to truly explore the therapeutic possibilities of cannabis. It passed a floor vote in the U.S. House just this week. Indeed, the wheels are turning for cannabis reform in the United States. The only thing standing in the way is the outcome of the runoff election.
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If this were a horse race, everyone would be on their feet right now, nervous for what could happen in the final quarter-mile. That’s where all of the action happens. So far, the pro-pot horse is winning. But you never know when one is going to come up from behind and cost you everything.