Senate

Warren: If Democrats take Senate, they'll vote on marijuana bill

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) said she is confident that Democrats would vote on a marijuana bill that would allow states to regulate marijuana without federal interference should they retake the Senate in November.

"I feel confident that if the Democrats recapture the Senate we'll get a vote on this, and the vote will carry," Warren said in an interview with Rolling Stone of the bipartisan bill, which Warren co-sponsored. "I think we've got the votes for this." 

Warren said she has been pushing Republicans to convince Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to relax his hard-line stance against the federal ban on marijuana. 

The bill she is touting, the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, has stalled in the House despite support from 10 senators from both parties and 28 members of the House. 

"We've got plenty of colleagues on the Democratic side who will support this, and Donald Trump said it sounded like a good idea to him," Warren said. "He's said it, I think, three different times now. So I'm pretty hopeful that if we could get a vote in Congress that we could actually get this passed."

Warren, a progressive who has been floated as a possible 2020 presidential contender, introduced the bill alongside Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). 

"We've been bringing people on to our bill two by two, a little like Noah's Ark," she said. "A Democrat and a Republican join hands and become cosponsors on our bill. We now have multiple cosponsors [in the Senate]. We have lots on the House side. In other words, we have a lot of people on McConnell's team who are pushing McConnell to do this." 

The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to say it no longer applies to laws "relating to the manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of [marijuana]."

The Trump administration so far has taken a stance against marijuana legalization, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a legalization opponent, at the helm of the Justice Department.

Warren said his staunch opposition has mobilized Congress in favor of marijuana.

"Let me describe it this way: We are in a moment when Jeff Sessions highlighted aggressive law enforcement on marijuana and a lot of folks here in Congress looked at each other and said, 'That's a bad idea,' " Warren said. "What Cory [Gardener] and I have done is give them a place to channel that where we can make real change. Now we just need to get a vote from Mitch [McConnell]."

Though marijuana is illegal at the federal level, recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in another 29.

Democrats will face long odds in taking back the Senate, according to most political analysts.

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