After last November's election, when eight more states legalized some form of marijuana, one thing became clear: legalization, once a fringe movement, has gone mainstream as the majority of Americans have gotten access to state-regulated weed.
Although public opinion is heavily in favor of legalization, President Trump has issued mixed messages regarding his position on marijuana and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is a prohibitionist who wants to ratchet up the war on drugs.
But Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a long-time supporter of legalization who recently introduced a legislation package to tax and regulate marijuana on the federal level, said during a call with reporters that federal legalization is in sight.
"Marijuana legalization is cresting," said Blumenauer. "This is a pivotal time. The long term is clear. I've stated and I strongly believe in five years every state will be able to treat marijuana like it treats alcohol."
Blumenauer says federal reform has trotted along slowly, but with marijuana legalization receiving more votes than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton last November, "marijuana has come of age politically," he said. That said, progress towards federal legalization is not a sure thing.
Blumenauer says he is confident that legislation he introduced to end marijuana company's tax burden under 280e, which prevents legal marijuana business from taking deductions besides cost of goods sold and to remove federal barriers to conducting research on marijuana will pass while Trump is president. Blumenauer also says there is wide-ranging bipartisan support for allowing marijuana businesses to use federally insured banks.
Near the end of the call, Blumenauer said that while he is confident that in five years marijuana will be regulated and taxed like alcohol in all 50 states, the industry needs to set the gold standard by adhering to regulations and educating the public.
"This will take another couple of years for changes to come to pass, but this is a pivotal time and no one should take things for granted," said Blumenauer.