Jim Mcgovern

Jim McGovern

Pete Sessions’ Replacement Won’t Block Cannabis Reform

Next year’s House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, the replacement for cannabis opponent Pete Sessions, has promised to allow open debate of cannabis reform on the floor of the House, the Boston Globe reports.

Pete Sessions was a longtime opponent to cannabis reform and he personally blocked dozens of amendments and bills, including purely medical ones designed to fight the opioid crisis. Sessions, however, lost his seat in the midterms to former NFL player Colin Allred and the Democratic Party took control of the House of Representatives, appointing Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) to replace Sessions. He’ll preside over the House Rules Committee in the next session of Congress.

McGovern has promised to stop using the Rules Committee as a way to control Congressional debate.

“I don’t want to be known as the chairman of the Rules Committee who presided over the most closed Congress in history — that’s what we have right now. I want to be more accommodating and basically empower rank-and-file members. I don’t like this idea where it’s ‘my way or the highway.’ We need a more deliberative process.” — Rep. Jim McGovern, to the Boston Globe

McGovern also said, “Unlike my predecessor, I’m not going to block amendments for marijuana. Citizens are passing ballot initiatives, legislatures are passing laws, and we need to respect that. Federal laws and statutes are way behind.”

Whether or not federal legalization is pushed in the next session, there is strong evidence and support backing medical reforms. Removing cannabis from Schedule I is a no-brainer. As shown by a variety of recent polls, nearly all Americans believe that cannabis should be allowed for medical uses and more than two-thirds think it should be made completely legal for adults.

McGovern also mentioned making several other changes which appear to have bipartisan support: solving cannabis businesses’ banking woes, allowing the VA to prescribe medical cannabis for veterans, and establishing explicit federal allowances for the states’ rights approach to cannabis reform.

“This just seems like common-sense stuff,” said McGovern.

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