Sen. Al Franken Is Evolving On Marijuana
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Sen. Al Franken Is Evolving On Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on September 21, 2017 at 05:20:00 PT
By Tom Angell
Source: Forbes
Washington, D.C. -- On Tuesday, the Democratic lawmaker from Minnesota became the fifth cosponsor of legislation to allow cannabis cultivators and sellers operating in accordance with state laws to be taxed just like any other business. The day before, he signed onto a bill that would allow those businesses to access financial services from banks.Earlier this month, the former "Saturday Night Live" star was one of six senators to introduce a broad bipartisan bill that would amend federal laws so states can enact and implement their own medical cannabis laws without federal interference.
The leadership on marijuana issues is a far cry from when Franken said on a BuzzFeed podcast last year (in response to a question I submitted) that he was "not the guy to ask" about cannabis policy.In his answer then, he did acknowledge that he should probably study up on the issue because the state he represents is one of more than two dozen that allows medical marijuana. "I should know more," the senator said, jokingly adding, "or it's not important or somewhere in between."A month later, Franken added his name to an earlier, now-expired version of the comprehensive medical marijuana bill that he is an original cosponsor of in the new 115th Congress. But he never did add his name to the 114th Congress's versions of the cannabis taxation and banking legislation.Now, the senator is on a bit of a marijuana bill cosponsorship spree, and some observers think it's good politics -- in addition to good policy -- at a time when Franken's name is being floated as a possible 2020 presidential candidate."With clear public support in favor of outright legalization, presidential aspirants now recognize that marijuana reform is something that can no longer be ignored," Justin Strekal of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) said in an interview.A Quinnipiac University poll released in April found that 60% of U.S. voters -- and 72% of Democrats -- support legalizing marijuana.When it comes to medical cannabis, 94% of all voters and 96% of Democrats are on board. Just 13% of Democrats and 21% of voters overall want the federal government to interfere with state marijuana laws.Other potential Democratic presidential candidates such as fellow Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have increasingly taken on leadership roles in the fight for marijuana law reform.Franken, who discussed his past marijuana, cocaine and LSD use in a book he published earlier this year, also joined four other senators in writing a July letter asking U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to go after state-legal industrial hemp growers.But Strekal, of NORML, wants Franken to do even more, saying, until he "puts his name on a bill that outright deschedules cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, I remain uninspired."In July, Booker filed legislation to do just that, and more. And in the last Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a 2016 presidential candidate, filed cannabis descheduling legislation.Tom Angell edits cannabis news portal Marijuana Moment and founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Source: Forbes Magazine (US)Author: Tom AngellPublished: September 21, 2017Copyright: 2017 Forbes Inc.Contact: readers forbes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on September 25, 2017 at 08:40:20 PT
Come on Al
Considering his past history, I think he should be coming out very strongly in favor of ending cannabis prohibition. If he had gotten one arrested for a “youthful indiscretion” he would not be the “Giant of the Senate” that he is today. Come on Al, we are counting on you.
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Comment #2 posted by Oleg the Tumor on September 23, 2017 at 15:34:01 PT
The Forgotten Cartel Supporters
What Mr. Franken (and others) also do not joke about is the source of the money given over to the cartels by people like me who take lots of meds and live on a fixed income.THE VAST MAJORITY OF THIS MONEY IS COMING FROM THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION!Free the Prisoner of Schedule One!
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Comment #1 posted by Hope on September 22, 2017 at 11:57:55 PT
I don't appreciate that.
"I should know more," the senator said, jokingly adding, "or it's not important or somewhere in between."That's not funny.It is important. Maybe they don't kill as many as they used to, but it still happens. And lives are ruined and accusations hurt people ... and families are upset. Government prohibition of cannabis is not helping anything at all... but it is hurting many. I believe the government is harming so many in their prohibition war. So many in so many ways. The enforcement of all the drug laws is violent and crazy. I think they need to stop on the plants completely and get a better plan on the other drugs. A lot better plan.
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