Mayors Urge Legalization

Despite a growing bipartisan wave that’s been floating a number of plebiscites pertaining to cannabis-related issues in both houses of Congress, the federal government continues to drag its feet, leaving the authors of these assorted bills spinning their wheels as they await actual votes on their legislation. With competing bills, each worded differently, the debate has increasingly turned on the marginalia, thus slowing the progress to an abysmal crawl. That’s put the onus back where it’s really always been, on state and local governments around the nation. These governments are continuing to go into business for themselves, moving the needle slowly forward toward a more permissive future.

The latest step in that direction was taken a couple Mondays ago, June 11, in the form of a “joint” resolution issued by the mayors of seven of America’s most well-known cities: Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. (Also West Sacramento, for flavor.) The mayors of each expressed their goal of seeing the federal ban on pot end–a goal to which even the president gave lip service (like the seam of a blunt) just the week before, in response to a bill currently moving through the U.S. Senate with the speed of a golf ball through a garden hose.

Michael B. Hancock, Denver’s second-term Democratic mayor who led the coalition, said, “As mayors of cities that have successfully implemented and managed this new industry, we have hands-on experience that can help Congress take the right steps to support other local governments as they prepare to enter this new frontier.” Of course, none of this is particularly surprising, given that most of the cities in the coalition have already raked in millions off their states’ liberalized marijuana laws, but the general support indicates that other cities are very much aware of their own profit potential. “Eventually, legalization will come to every state,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, “and we want to make sure it’s done so safely and effectively.”

While on the subject, it would actually be really cool if Northeast Florida could itself host the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting one of these days. The conference is a nonpartisan organization that counts 1,400 mayors of cities with populations of 30,000 or more as members.

Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry is listed as a member in good standing on the organization’s website, but was not in attendance this year. In June 2017, A.G. Gancarski reported for Florida Politics that the mayor had opted out of the organization, saying that he didn’t think paying the dues for membership was a “good use of taxpayer dollars.”

This is an election season, so we can expect the issue cannabis reform to be publicly raised at some point or another–maybe by me, or maybe by you.


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