Three Republican Senators Stand in the Way of Federal Weed Legislation
There’s finally bipartisan support for cannabis legislation — but unless it can get past a small group of Republican senators, the bills will continue to fizzle
by Natalie Fertig
WASHINGTON — The Capitol Hill Club sits kiddy-corner from Cannon House Office building in downtown Washington, D.C. White table cloths and carved wooden elephants define the decor of this Hill hangout, which caters to mostly Republican lobbyists, staffers, and the occasional politician. But on a stifling day in June, a Democrat lobbyist came to lunch.
Saphira Galoob was there to talk about cannabis legalization with Republican lobbyist Don Murphy. Over sweet potato fries, Murphy — a former GOP state representative in Maryland who has been working in marijuana policy for over 15 years — and Galoob traded war stories about advocating for cannabis on Capitol Hill, where, as Murphy explains, public opinion only goes so far.
Back in 2017, she said, senators like Tom Cotton told her to her face that their states and voters didn’t care about cannabis. “There was a ripeness issue. There was no standing because it wasn’t yet ripe, for members of Congress. And I think that is where the tide has turned.”