Like most Democratic members of Congress, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) isn’t exactly a fan of President Donald Trump. But when it comes to the topic of marijuana reform, Blumenauer doesn’t think the president, or Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are much to worry about.
“I don’t think his election means anything for marijuana reform,” Blumenauer told Independent Journal Review. “Trump is essentially irrelevant.”
Blumenauer was in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on Wednesday to speak at the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo on a panel titled “Marijuana Under a New Administration: The First 100 Days of Trump.” Unlike other members of the panel, Blumenauer was incredibly optimistic about the future of marijuana reform.
Despite Trump’s choice for attorney general occasionally making dubious statements about marijuana, Blumenauer painted a picture of a Congress more progressive than any before it, highlighting the creation in February of the first-ever bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus:
“If you would have told me five years ago that I would be standing with an 83-year-old Republican from Alaska when we rolled this out, I would’ve taken that bet. But it’s symbolic of the progress that has been made.
The issue that I have literally been working on for four decades, back when Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana and the first state to vote on adult use, we watched this issue crest this fall, winning in eight out of the nine elections.”
“There are some challenges ahead,” Blumenauer warned. “But after four decades, I have never been more optimistic than I am this morning that the end is in sight to be able to eliminate the failed policy of prohibition, to be able to allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit, and being able to extend medical marijuana to everybody in America.”
While Sessions and Trump may talk tough about potentially cracking down on states that allow recreational or medical marijuana, Rep. Blumenauer doesn’t seem worried.
“People who hang on the words of this administration are going to suffer terminal whiplash,” he joked.
Speculating on the priorities of the embattled Trump administration, the congressman explained that he doesn’t see how interfering with decisions at the state level could be a priority of the president.
“If Obama had bigger fish to fry, I mean these folks — I don’t know the proper analogy, I’ll just leave it at ‘dumpster fire,'” Blumenauer said.
“If I was advising this administration, which I am not, the last thing I would suggest is to pick a fight with the voters across the country,” he argued, again highlighting the eight electoral victories for different marijuana reform measures across the country this past November.
Speaking with IJR after the panel, Rep. Blumenauer expanded on his suggestion for the current administration.
“I think they would be ill-advised to move.” he explained. “They’d be going against just about two-thirds of the public now. We’re moving towards two-thirds public support for [recreational] adult use, 90 percent for medical marijuana, and about three-quarters of the people say the federal government shouldn’t interfere.
“That would be really stupid,” he added.
Even opponents of marijuana reform would find it hard to argue with the results Blumenauer has seen from legalization of recreational marijuana back in his home state of Oregon.
“We’re watching an industry emerge, there are thousands of family wage jobs. We’re watching the normalization, we’re collecting millions of dollars in taxes,” he told IJR. “It’s working like one would want in terms of treating it like a real, legitimate business and part of a national reform effort.”
Unabashedly rocking a bow tie patterned with cannabis leaves as a sitting congressman, Rep. Earl Blumenauer certainly isn’t shy when it comes to speaking out about an issue he strongly supports.