Key Senate committee shakeup could provide boost for marijuana

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The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and marijuana opponent announces resignation

There’s more good news for the marijuana community coming out of Capitol Hill. Following on the heels of the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week, Senator Chuck Grassley has announced that he is resigning as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Iowa politician is a long-time marijuana opponent and his departure could help open the door to marijuana legalization on a national level.

Set to take Grassley’s place is South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham hasn’t exactly been an outspoken supporter of marijuana, but is seen as more liberal-minded and open to the possibility of legalized medical marijuana. In fact, Graham has sponsored legislation to protect states that have legalized marijuana from federal interference and has pushed to remove cannabidiol (CBD) from the list of federally banned substances. Grassley, on the other hand, has prevented any marijuana bills from being put to a vote.

Graham has previously said that medical cannabis could be “life-changing” and has argued that research restrictions needed to be lifted. He has said that he is not a “big fan” of legalized marijuana, but adds that he can be counted on for medical marijuana and that he is “convinced that it helps people with epilepsy.”

Graham has said that marijuana is not a top priority. However, given President Trump’s desire to address the topic during the upcoming session, and the fact that Graham is putting his support behind medical marijuana, it is possible that we will see substantial progress for legalized marijuana in 2019.